Lake Como is one of the most gorgeous places in Italy. In the olden days, it was called ‘Lario’, which means ‘a deep place’. Filled with centuries-old towns, spectacular views, and a shoreline second to none, it’s an area of Italy you should not miss by any means. The Passalacqua, a 24-suite retreat and one of most impressive local hotels, has opened its doors after three years of restoration. Standing above the village of Moltrasio, with seven acres of terraced gardens, sweeping down to the lake shore, the Villa is steeped in history, having played host to some of the world’s most brilliant minds, manifesting themselves in music, literature, art, and politics – from Napoleon Bonaparte to Bellini and Winston Churchill.The Passalacqua is a passion-inspired project of the De Santis Family, an Italy’s leading hotelier, owning the iconic Tremezzo Grand Hotel. They are bringing this mansion and its secular park back to life with love, respect, and thoughtfulness, recreating the unique timeless charm of ‘vivere Italiano’.The Terrace, complete with a swimming pool, surrounded by vibrant parasols and sun loungers, furnished in a patterned fabric, custom-made especially for The Passalacqua.
Built on the land originally owned by Pope Innocent XI, the Villa dates back to the 18th century when Count Andrea Lucini-Passalacqua hired architect Felice Soave and designer Giocondo Albertolli to make his dream villa on Lake Como become a reality. In the years to come, the mansion attracted some of Italy’s most prominent public figures.
Garden of Delights
The majestic terraced gardens, overlooking Lake Como, with their private hideaways and more than 15 enchanting fountains, are really fantastic. The Italian Gardens, located at the estate’s highest vantage point, allow the most spectacular lake views. While the old Winter Garden looks out onto a 20-metre swimming pool, surrounded by vibrant parasols and sun loungers, furnished in a patterned fabric, custom-made by fashion designer JJ Martin especially for The Passalacqua. Next to the Rose Garden, is the Magnolia Garden, offering a perfect space for practising yoga. A second Winter Garden features a state-of-the-art al fresco gym, overlooking the estate’s old olive grove, where olive oil has been pressed out for generations.
The Passalacqua eschews formal dining, favouring the relaxed ‘home-away-from-home’ approach instead. Guests are treated to simple, yet authentic Italian home cooking, featuring fresh ‘garden-to-table’ ingredients. Having worked for over 25 years with Milan’s most high- end families, House Executive Chef Mauro Verza is truly a ‘chef di casa’. Guests are encouraged to visit the kitchens to discuss their daily menus with the cooking team.
Christmas on Lake Como
Those staying over the Christmas season can enjoy ‘Natale a Como’ - a unique Christmas festival, with Lake Como transforming completely into a magical world, featuring a series of traditional events and market shows. The festivities are heightened with the Como Magic Light Festival, lighting up the buildings’ facades in the city centre and on the lake shores to create a special festive atmosphere all over the place. Back at the hotel, families and children alike can have fun, taking part in interactive celebrations.