It was Elena Croce, daughter of the great philosopher Benedetto, who pushed her friend Giulia Maria Mozzoni Crespi to strive to create a foundation in Italy along the lines of the British National Trust.

When he found her, in the midst of the Tuscan chestnut trees, he told her with imperious and peremptory tone to found an Italian National Trust. “But up there is porridge and we eat spaghetti, it rains up there and the sun shines here; I see few analogies! “, replied the friend.

Elena Croce’s idea became reality thanks to the enthusiasm and support of Renato Bazzoni, Alberto Predieri and Franco Russoli: it was with them that Giulia Maria Mozzoni Crespi April 28, 1975 signed the articles of association and the statute of FAI.

To start the FAI activities was the first donation received: the splendid Cala Junco donated by Pietro di Blasi, in Panarea, in the Aeolian Islands, a cove with crystal clear waters. Followed the Monastery of Torba, bought and donated by the president Crespi, the Abbey of San Fruttuoso in Camogli, until the last significant acquisitions of the Giants of the Sila in Spezzano della Sila, of the Podere Case Lovara in Punta Mesco, of the Saline Conti Vecchi in Cagliari.

Villa del Balbianello was built at the end of the 18th century by Cardinal Angelo Maria Durini, on the site of an ancient Franciscan monastery.
In the 19th century, after the cardinal’s death, the villa became property of Count Luigi Porro Lambertenghi, his grandson.
Afterward, Villa Balbianello was purchased by Marquis Giuseppe Arconati Visconti, who hosted some great intellectuals such as Alessandro Manzoni, Giovanni Berchet, and Giuseppe Giusti.
Gianmartino Arconati Visconti, Giuseppe’s son, made some improvements to the villa’s gardens and loggia, but the decline of the noble family eventually led to a state of neglect. 

In 1919, Villa del Balbianello was purchased by Butler Ames, an American soldier and businessman, who restored the villa to its original splendor.
Later, in 1974, his heirs gave it to the famous entrepreneur and explorer Guido Monzino. 
He embellished the villa with a rich collection of artifacts that he acquired during his expeditions. 
In 1988, Monzino died without issue and donated Villa del Balbianello to FAI (Fondo per l’Ambiente Italiano).

Villa del Balbianello will leave you breathless, due to its beautiful terraced gardens and picturesque structure.
Located on the tip of the Lavedo headland, in the locality of Lenno (part of Tremezzina), the villa provides a stunning view of Isola Comacina and the western shore of Lake Como. 
The villa is now home to private events such as weddings, ceremonies and even film or photographic sets.
You cannot, therefore, sleep at the villa.

The whole complex consists of two residential buildings, a church, and a portico that overlooks a little dock. The main building of Villa Balbianello hosts some English and French furnishings, which date back to the 17th and 18th centuries.
The interiors are embellished by many glass paintings and a rich collection of ethnic sculptures and artifacts.
The upper floor of Villa Balbianello is dedicated to Guido Monzini, former owner of the villa and leader of the first Italian expedition to Mount Everest.
There you will see a lot of pictures, flags, and honors belonging to the famous Italian explorer, in addition to one of the eight sleighs he used to reach the North Pole.

Villa del Balbianello has been used as the setting for several movies, including A Month by the Lake, Casino Royale, and Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones.
When you visit the villa, you should try your hand at identifying key areas featured in these movies!

Opening times
From mid-March to mid-November, 11am – 6pm. Closed on Mondays and Wednesdays (except on holidays)

Entry price
Garden only: €10. Whole property: €20.

Guided tours
60 minute guided tours for groups of up to 15 people are available by reservation. Cost: €60 per group + ticket price

HOW TO GET to Villa Balbianello
The unique location of Villa Balbianello allows visitors to get there only by foot (walking on a 1 km footpath which starts from Via degli Artigiani) or by a taxiboat that leaves from the Lenno beach (€7.5 for the roundtrip).

To purchase tickets

+39 0344 56110

Or Email

Where to stay

We recommend Hotel La Perla

Slay Concierge recommended Top activities

Boat Tour with Venetian LimousineBOOK NOW

Varenna tasting tour & visit to Villa Monastero BOOK NOW

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The ideal place for your dream wedding

Tour the Villa in HD

Special Slay Concierge Note
Our high end ateliers across the world are capable of recreating any look seen on Slaylebrity. Contact or click the contact us icon to chat with slay concierge.

Recommended wedding crew

East West wedding films, visit the blog:

Event production



Source Lake Como Travel

But up there is porridge and we eat spaghetti

It rains up there and the sun shines here

I see few analogies!

View of Bellagio from Loggia Durini, the upper part of the villa

Travel Diary

Straight from a picturesque book

Inside the Villa

The Journey begins here

It will take your breath away

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