December 16, 2018


Sometimes, a wrong turn on the road would bring you to an unexpectedly pleasant place. This is what happened while driving from Milan to Bellagio in Lake Como. It was raining hard with low visibility so I missed a turn on the autostrada and ended up inside the small town of Cernobbio with its maze of narrow streets. I passed by a large gate with what looked like a grand mansion inside which piqued my interest so I backed up and parked outside the large grounds of what looked like a sprawling villa.

It was Villa D’Este which is considered as one of the top 5-star luxury hotels in Italy with one of the most romantic settings in the world. Located along the banks of Lake Como, it is surrounded by ten acres of lush landscaped gardens with a forest of trees, flowering shrubs and statues lining its pathways.

The property used to be the summer residence of a Cardinal which was built in 1568 before being transformed into a luxury hotel in 1873 which instantly became a favorite of European aristocracy.  There are two buildings in the Renaissance style accommodating 152 rooms each furnished with antique furniture. All modern amenities you can think of including a golf course are available on the grounds and a stay for the night would set you back 600 Euros for a double room while a suite would cost as much as 2,300 Euros.

It was the magnificent gardens surrounding Villa d’Este that made me bring out the camera and shoot. It has a romantic and picturesque Baroque style scenography with countless varieties of plants evoking a genuine botanical garden where every season brings out different scents and colors. I was tempted to hang around longer and take some night shots but the dark afternoon sky was threatening a heavy downpour once again and I wanted to reach my destination before that happened.

The garden with an arboreteum.
The main building leading to the reception area.
One of statues on the path to the other building wing.
Outdoor seating by the lake.
The entrance to the reception.
One corner of the garden with climbing plants.
There is a marina with sunbathing lounges.
Am not sure what plant this is, but it’s simply beautiful!
Breakfast by the gardens.
The view across Lake Como.
One of the opulent lounges.
I sat here for a quarter of an hour waiting for the rain to abate into a drizzle.
The facade has nicely-done trompe l’oeil.
Some parts of the hotel have their own jetty.
This leads to the underground quay.
Lake Como under a threatening sky.
The long stepped fountain.
The opulent corridor.
Renaissance style facade.
Preparing to leave before the heavy downpour.


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