Mediterranean Melodies travel blog

"Trombetta Express"...

..."tickets please"..

.."fill it up".


Up the..

..path to..




The grounds..

..of the..

..Villa Balbianello.

The Logia..


..the library..

..and the map room

17th century Spanish chest-Library-Villa Balbianello. Note the intricate locks

Office and..

..bedchamber-Villa Balbianello

View out of the window-Villa Balbianello

Dining room-Villa Balbianello

Sitting room-Villa Balbianello


..from the.. and the..

..Boat Landing..

..Villa Balbianello.

Saturday 17th September 2011 Weather:-Sunshine

The reason that we chose to stay in the town of Tremezzo while visiting Lake Como on this trip is because of its central location and the abundance of ferries going in all directions over the lake, what we did not know about was that there is a train available as well—it is even an ‘Express Train’ and it is called the ‘Trombetta Express’ so today we invested in a day ticket and chuffed along the edge of the lake from Tremezzo to Lenno then to Menaggio and back to Tremezzo---You can see on the photos that from this land where Pinocchio was born it fits in well, and we had fun. Riding around on it today I came to realise that the ‘train’ must be one of the most photographed vehicles around. The train does not run when it is raining and as we had a visit to the Villa Balbianello and its’ splendid gardens on our itinerary (in the little town of Lenno) and rain was forecast for tomorrow we thought that we had better do that while we could.

Villa del Balbianello is one of the most famous villas on Lake Como and has probably more photographs published than any other Lake Como or even Italian Villa. Here we have finally found a venue that has some common sense regarding the ‘No Photos’ rule: - Photos are allowed freely in the extensive grounds but if you want to visit the inside of the Villa it can only be done on a guided tour and anyone who wants to take photos (no flash/tripod) pays an extra 3 Euros, “Hallelujah” I hope some of the other thousands of tourist attraction pay heed for in this way they can keep it under control. I must say that the tour guide was one of the most informed, easy to understand and pleasant guides that we have had in our travels and while our tour was in English there were 2 other tours happening, one was in Italian and the other I could not hear. Villa del Balbianello was high up on our ‘to do’ list because Herman is a James Bond fan and in the spring of 2006, the outdoor scenes of the movie “Casino Royale” were filmed in front of this Villa and the same Villa Balbianello can also be seen in Star Wars, “Attack of the Clones” & "A Month by the Lake" so I guess that when we get home we will have to find a copy of that last movie on CD. One of the joys of visiting the Villa is that the little train only takes you to the ferry landing from where you walk a little further around Lake Como and then you take a path up through the woods for a twenty minute climb up to the Villa and to our joy the church bells in Lenno had a chiming session while we were strolling/climbing along making us realize how lucky we are.

The Villa was constructed by Cardinal Angelo Maria Durini during the end of the 18th century. It is situated at the end of the wooded Lenno peninsular and its extensive gardens cascade down to the lake, virtually opposite the town of Bellagio and the most recent private owner of the Villa was the explorer Guido Monzino, who was the first Italian to reach the summit of Everest. He was an avid collector of African, Chinese and pre-Colombian art, together with valuable English and French furniture from the 1700's which is all still in sittue as he wanted the Villa to look lived in rather than just be a cold museum. Before his untimely death of a heart attack when he was only sixty he willed the Villa to a private, non-profit trust called the Fondo per L'Ambiente Italiano (FAI) and that is why it is open to the public now.

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