July 17, 2012
Owing to its spectacular landscape afforded by the Alps and mild weather year long, Lake Como has been a popular retreat for aristocrats since the Roman times. Many lavish villas – regulated in appearance to ensure harmonious view from the lake – dot the shoreline, some resided by wealthy and famous personalities. On a mini cruise from Como to Bellagio, I documented the balcony views I could get should I win a ten or so jackpots.
The town of Moltrasio lies gently on the northern shore of Lake Como.
To the chagrin of the locals, a Russian billionaire minister started construction of a new mansion at the very edge of this shore, seen on the extreme right of the photograph above. To further disappointment, he was indicted with corruption and thrown into jail. Work stopped at the mansion and it has become merely a huge chunk of grey rock gracing the shoreline since.
Built in 1787, Villa del Balbianello began life as a Franciscan monastery. After the cardinal’s death, it became a private residence until 1988 when it was left to the National Trust of Italy. The wedding scene in Star Wars Episode II and James Bond’s recovery scene in Casino Royale were shot here.
The two arms of Lake Como meet here in Bellagio, which means either “beautiful lake” in Italian or “two lakes” in Latin.
A building resembling a chapel sits atop the slopes of Cadenabbia, viewed across the lake from Bellagio.
View of Lake Como, the Alps from Lido di Bellagio.
Perhaps most famously in this area, a villa of George Clooney’s. Two things indicated that he may very well be home – opened window shutters, and a group of eager fans wielding cameras on a nearby pier.