Villa Balbiano, Lake Como, Italy (Airbnb): If you’re just coming off of a screening of House of Gucci, then we have an important announcement for you: This is not a movie still. While this property did make its debut on the proverbial red carpet last year, this photo is of a real-life villa on Lake Como that is ready and waiting for you to don your best Italian couture and move on in… at least for a little while.
Lake Como may be known for its A-list denizens, including the King and Queen of Como, George and Amal Clooney, but Villa Balbiano has one big win against its neighbors—it is one of the largest private residences on the very posh lake. As an added bonus, it also has frescoes like these that were painted in the 17th century by the Recchi Brothers and Agostino Silva.
The main villa in this heavenly slice of Ossuccio, Italy, has six large suites, but only one lucky guest in your party (::raises hand::) gets to sleep like a real-life Gucci. It’s time to practice saying, “I only sleep on red velvet and silk, my dear.”
Close your eyes, clear your mind, and imagine Italian decadence right…now! What did you picture? If you’re like us, it was crystal chandeliers on crystal chandeliers, otherwise known as one of the Villa Balbiano’s salons. That’s right, this is the type of property where living rooms are officially known as “salons.”
A stay here gives you free rein over the grounds which cover nearly three acres, a big portion of which is impeccably manicured gardens. This gives new meaning to going for a nice little self-care walk when you need a break from whoever your lucky vacation guests are.
Villa Balbiano was built in the late 16th century. Its early years were influenced by the decadence and fine taste of Italian cardinals. The man who originally built the property was Cardinal Tolomeo Gallio, but it was Cardinal Angelo Maria Durini at the end of the 17th century who took over ownership and put his stamp on the villa with major renovations and an impeccable taste in art.
Many fancy homes are filled with luxury goods from only the most modern of designers. But if you were to ask this chateau “Where do you shop?” the answer would be “Only at Sotheby’s and Christie’s, dahling!”
When you’re embracing Italian decadence, there are never too many gold accents. With the gorgeous decor, you are probably thinking that this would be the perfect place to get married or throw a fête for some fabulous occasion. While you would be right, and while you can rent the villa for such a purpose, we think you should channel your inner Gucci and celebrate every day as if it were a big event. That means the best reason to book a vacation at Villa Balbiano is for no reason at all.
The bodies of water that you have access to when staying at the Villa Balbiano are numerous and impressive: the lake, the indoor pool, the outdoor pool, and the gorgeous marble tubs. However will you choose?
Ah, this is the perfect spot for your daily aperitivo. Just imagine your closest friends and Al Pacino—the latest Aldo Gucci, of course—donning their chicest summer suites and cocktail frocks for a refreshing Aperol spritz.
The listing agent calls this property an “Italian jewel.” If you are interested in the evidence that will back up this seriously descriptive claim, we’ll leave you alone with this image for a few minutes so you can take in the glory that is Villa Balbiano.
Whether you arrive by boat or by car, your week (or more…we would never presume to judge your life) of luxury on the western shore of Lake Como will begin by making your way through at least one of the beautiful gardens to arrive at the now-Hollywood famous Italian villa. If you choose to make your garden approach as if you were walking your very own red carpet, that’s up to you.
Book Your Stay: Villa Balbiano, Lake Como, Italy $1,400/night via Airbnb