Strolling amongst the jewels of Lake Como
Set in one of the most breathtaking locations on Lake Como, in the beautiful mediaeval town of Bellagio perched on a promontory jutting out into the lake, the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni is one of the most fascinating of the many splendid buildings that populate this extraordinary landscape. The backdrop of the mountains reflected in the lake, the lush green of the vegetation that thrives in the pleasant microclimate around the lake and the blue of the waters create scenarios that for centuries have inspired the construction of unique villas.
Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni has a long tradition of distinguished hospitality and has seen some of the key figures in more than a century of political and social history grace its long corridors. Designed around 1850 as a luxurious lakeside holiday villa for an aristocratic Milanese family, just twenty years later it was sold and became the central nucleus of the Grand Hotel, opened in 1873.
The residence immediately became the chosen destination for distinguished guests in search of peace, including such notables as the sovereigns of Spain, Romania, Albania and Egypt, the Russian and English aristocracy, Sir Winston Churchill, Roosevelt, the Rothschilds, J. F. Kennedy, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, Maria Schell, Clark Gable, Robert Mitchum and Al Pacino.
The interiors display exceptionally good taste, even the sometimes bombastic decorations and furnishings never upsetting the overall sense of balance. The walls and vaulted ceilings are adorned with frescoes and paintings of mythological scenes, gilded frames, festoons, temples, cherubs, flamingos and even trompe l’oeil designs. The furnishings are equally impressive, French style period wall hangings, antique Persian carpets, Murano crystal chandeliers, Imperial, neoclassical and Art Nouveau style furniture complementing the neoclassical architecture of the villa, punctuated by marble staircases and columns.
A sense of measure and good taste are also qualities that describe the owners, a family that has worked in the field of hospitality for generations and has devoted a great deal of effort to ensuring that the renovation and extension work preserved the original spirit of the villa. The most recent project involved creating new rooms in the east attic of the central volume and reorganising the garage and laundry areas through the construction of two underground floors.
An important contribution to the sense of harmony of the project was made by the Onyx ceramic tile collection from Edilcuoghi, a series that combines the simplicity and sensitivity of the past with luxury and contemporary design. This is amply displayed in the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni, where the collection’s soft, delicate tones and modulated sizes accompany and quietly emphasise the elegance of the rooms, adapting perfectly to the building’s style and history.
Almond and Noce