Villa d'Este is a renown five star resort in Chernobbio, on lake Como.
The main villa was built in 16th century by a Catholic Cardinal, who acquired the land from a monastic order, whose monastery still stands in the gardens. Since then the ownership passed between several renowned aristocratic families including the Pino spouses, Caroline of Brunswick, and it was briefly rented by a Russian empress.
The villa was reconstructed several times and therefore boasts the finest art and architecture from the five centuries of Italian history. Its considerable gardens are also a work of art, comprising many unique landscape patterns and over five centuries' old trees.
On the hill side overlooking the lake there are what appear to be the ruins of an ancient fortress. Yet these were artificially constructed in 19th century as a gift to General Domenico Pino, famous for his role in Spanish and Russian campaigns during Napoleonic Wars, to represent the scenery he was fighting on.
The hotel actually comprises several villas, with two major buildings that house most guest rooms and a few smaller dwellings to be rented as private villas.
All rooms are designed distinctly from one another. Most are decorated with antique furniture and valuable art. And of course many offer the magnificent views over the lake. Most standard rooms are relatively small, but those of the junior suite type and beyond possess the true aristocratic grandeur.
The main restaurant offers traditional Italian delicacies, prepared to among the best standards in north Italy, and indeed in the world. Their head chef used to cook for Pope John Paul II and I was told that Elton John was so impressed with their dishes that he had his cook undergo training with them. Indeed, in my experience their risottos were probably the best I ever tried.
Such magnificent historic appeal and the modern luxury are combined in an extraordinarily pleasant setting on lake Como. For these reasons, Villa d'Este became a favourite of many rich and famous individuals.
Such sophistication of course comes at a price, and a rather considerable one. The junior suite would set you back about a 1000 Euros a day in high season. Nevertheless, I will make my best effort come back for a short vacation here again in the future. And if can't afford the stay, it's still worth visiting the outstanding restaurant, which will also permit you to explore the whole brilliant territory of the villa.
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