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If Bellagio is considered the “Pearl of Lake Como,” then the Villa Serbelloni is it’s golden setting.  One of the most renowned and elegant hotels of the Lake Como region, Villa Serbelloni is situated in the most enviable position of Bellagio.   Its butterscotch façade looks towards the lake.  Behind the villa, there is a wooded promontory - an extensive park that was once part of the original Serbelloni estate, bequeathed in 1959 to the Rockefeller Foundation of New York.  The main building dates back to1850.  In 1873 two side wings were added and the private villa was transformed into a hotel, welcoming European aristocrats who made it their holiday home for extended stays, sometimes for an entire season, bringing with them an entourage of servants.


Travel has changed considerably since then, but it is still easy to feel like an aristocrat here.  The carpeted, stylishly furnished bedrooms are spacious and tranquil, with views of either the lake or garden.  Our garden view included the bell tower of the 11th century church of S. Giacomo.


It was tempting to just relax in the gilded and mirrored public salons with their exquisitely frescoed ceilings and richly upholstered armchairs, even when the lake and the town beckoned.  At sunset, guests can dine on the candlelit terrace, overlooking the lake, or simply choose to while away the hours listening to the music provided by a trio of talented musicians who play in the grand sitting room each evening.


Just when we thought we had experienced every extravagance, we woke up to have our first breakfast in the grandest, most beautiful room in the villa, one with a ceiling of frescoed cupid and floral motifs in gentle pastel colors, with accents of softly burnished gilt.  “Guilt” is a good word to describe what I should be feeling, having succumbed to the many and varied temptations of the Villa’s buffet breakfast.

July 2006

All images and reviews copyright 2015 by Ginda Simpson

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Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni

Via Roma, 1, 22021 Bellagio ~ Lombardy, Italy

Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni ~ Original watercolor painting by Ginda Simpson