Sometimes, you make a wrong turn on the road and you find yourself somewhere where you least expect it. It may be good or it may not depending on where you end up. Well, I got lost driving past the town of Cernobbio under a heavy downpour on my way to Bellagio in Lake Como and ended up in this magnificent property of a hotel called Villa D’Este. I thought I’d stop and have some snack since it was late in the afternoon and I hadn’t eaten yet after landing in Milan’s Malpensa Airport and immediately picking up the rental car.
After surveying the scene while having my first espresso, I decided to get back to the car and get my camera to shoot the place. It was so beautiful and since the rain had just stopped, the outdoor gardens were shimmering under the diffused light of the afternoon sun hidden by the clouds which acted like a filter. The colors were so fresh and vibrant with no harsh shadows so I thought the time spent taking pictures would be worth it.
The Villa used to be the summer residence of an Italian Cardinal, built in 1568 with over 25 acres of landscaped gardens. It soon gained its reputation as the playground of royalty and the aristocracy before being transformed into a luxury hotel in 1873. Presently, it comprises 152 rooms each with different decor and there are also four beautiful private villas.
With Lake Como just behind it, the place is surrounded by lush gardens done in the Renaissance period. Aside from the numerous well-trimmed hedges and bushes, the surroundings bloom with camellias, rhododendrons, hydrangeas, azaleas, jasmine and roses. All around are old chestnut trees sprinkled with magnolias, cypresses, wisterias and palms. It is a gardener’s paradise and perfect for any wedding of which am sure many have been held in this setting over the years.
No wonder, with the opulent atmosphere coupled with its excellent services, the Villa has been hailed as one of the best hotels in the world by Travel & Leisure, Condé Nast Traveler and Forbes Traveler. At prices ranging from 1,000 Euros a night for a double room to 3,500 Euros for a suite, its reputation is well-deserved. Since I couldn’t afford it, i just contented myself with their tasty coffee and excellent cakes for a brief snack. But hey, in exchange for that, I was able to shoot some really lovely pictures without being restricted from doing so. And had the rain not threatened to pour once more, I would’ve tarried longer to enjoy the view,
The entrance to the main villa.
This would make a perfect backdrop for any wedding with Lake Como just behind.
Nice walkway beside the lake.
The walls of this Nymphaeum or grotto are decorated with intricate mosaics.
The parking outside the Villa’s walls where I ended up after making a wrong turn on my way to Bellagio.
One last shot of myself before leaving and before the rain started pouring once again….