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Lake Como: What is your favorite GARDEN to visit?

Lake Como: What is your favorite GARDEN to visit?

Jan 13th, 2008, 10:21 AM
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Lake Como: What is your favorite GARDEN to visit?

What love to hear your thoughts.

We are visiting Lake Como as a day trip from Milan -- taking the train into Varenna, and will probbaly focus on just the mid-lake region.

We'll probably only have time for one lovely garden, and I know there are many from which to choose!

dina4 is offline  
Jan 13th, 2008, 11:15 AM
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Villa Carlotta on the west shore or Villa Melzi just south of Bellagio.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Jan 13th, 2008, 12:03 PM
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I'll second Villa Carlotta as a first choice.

Others are lovely too: Villa Melzi in Bellagio, Villa Cipressi and the walk up to the Castello Vezio in Varenna, etc
enroute is offline  
Jan 13th, 2008, 12:14 PM
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How much time would you allot to Villa Carlotta?

dina4 is offline  
Jan 13th, 2008, 12:18 PM
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You don't need that much time for Villa Carlotta. One hour should be enough.

My choice, though, would be Villa del Balbianello. The setting is quite fantastic, but it's also the most difficult to get to. If you have just one day, it's probably not a good choice in that regard.
111op is offline  
Jan 13th, 2008, 12:50 PM
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When we were in Varenna, the gardens for Villa Monastero and Villa Cipresi were covered under the same ticket. Monastero seems to have a long lake frontage. Time wise these were easy.

Villa Balbianello could eat up a lot of your day.
Big_Red is offline  
Jan 14th, 2008, 10:13 AM
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Villa Carlotta has fantastic cascading botanical gardens overlooking the Lake and town of Bellagio on the peninsula across the lake. It has planted sections representing different regions of the world, incl. Asia.

You can spend 1 or 4 hours both inside and outside the villa, depending on your preferences and the pace of your trip. Weather is another factor, of course...

enroute is offline  
Jan 14th, 2008, 10:52 AM
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If you are going when rhododendrons are in bloom, Villa Carlotta with its alleys lined with these bushes.
Michael is offline  
Jan 14th, 2008, 03:24 PM
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Thanks so much, everyone!

We will be there in late June -- not sure when the rhododrendons bloom...

dina4 is offline  
Jan 14th, 2008, 03:53 PM
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We found the rhododendrons in full bloom and the azaleas just about to peak at Villa Carlotta during the very last week of April. So I expect mid April to mid/late May would catch their bloom. part of the gardens are flowering bushes, part are more like a botanical garden with different planting zones. There are also many planted flower beds, especially around the villa itself.
ellenem is offline  
Jan 14th, 2008, 05:20 PM
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Hi dina4

I don't mean to hijack your thread, but then again you may want to know the answer to this, too.

How difficult is it to get to Villa Balbianello? I will have 2 1/2 days to spend in Bellagio, and this is one of the villas I am interested in visiting.

Thank you,
gracie04 is offline  
Jan 14th, 2008, 06:40 PM
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Thanks Johanna.
I was thinking the same thing!
dina4 is offline  
Jan 14th, 2008, 06:55 PM
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Villa del Balbianello is about 1 km. from the Lenno ferry dock. Lenno is about 20 minutes south of Menaggio on the Colico-to-Como ferry. It is closed on Mondays and Wednesdays and every day from early November to mid-March. The hours are (I think) 10 a.m. to 5 or 6 p.m.
Jean is offline  
Jan 14th, 2008, 07:07 PM
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My vote goes to Villa Carlotta. It was beautiful even in Novemeber!!!
jrecm is offline  
Jan 14th, 2008, 07:37 PM
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Notes on Villa Balbianello.

Official website:


I posted this in one of my threads last year.

Best to check/print ferry schedules from navigazione.it. However these are not always correct.

Example: First departure for Lenno is around 10:15 ish on the website. However it looks like there's a 9-ish departure if you check the printed schedule on the ticket windows in Bellagio.

We went on Tuesday. Took that 10-ish departure, which was delayed fairly substantially.

It took us more than 20 minutes to walk from Lenno's ferry landing. I could have done it more quickly, but the uphill walk was more challenging for my mom. By the time we arrived, we just missed the 11:30 am tour of the interior of the villa.

The way the ferry schedules worked, because we were leaving later that afternoon and had Villa Serbelloni gardens booked, we couldn't take a later tour of the interior.

It'd have been better to check the scheudles again and take the earlier departure for Lenno.

Still the visit was very worthwhile. The setting is stunning.

That private tour that Patrick suggested left at 2 on Tuesday. For me it wouldn't have worked anyway. I didn't check on the price.

The boats from Lenno that are supposed to operate.... As many people observed, the service seems erratic. When I arrived at the villa I asked and I was told that there were no boats because the waters were choppy.

So be prepared to walk if you're going.

When you get off the ferry, turn left and walk to the end of the waterfront. The signs are fairly good except for one place where they seem to point in contradictory directions (that's Italy for you!). You need to walk through a small gate to begin a gradual climb up a hill to get to the villa.

Ferry tickets I think that everything in the central lake region (Lenno, Varenna, Mennagio, etc.) are in zone 3. I forget the price of a single ticket (probably about 3.40 euros). I believe a day ticket for zone 3 costs 10 euros. So if you take more than 3 trips, it's worthwhile to buy a day ticket. (By the way this is based on my limited understanding of Italian.)

For Villa Carlotta and Villa del Balbianello (and I guess others) you can buy a combo ticket that covers admission + day ticket. You get a slight discount that way (but see below).

But for Balbianello I think the combo ticket covers the gardens. I don't know if you can pay a supplement to see the interior by guided tour. If you want to see the interior, then maybe it's best not to get the combo ticket since if you have to pay the full price of the guided tour, the ticket will not offer any savings. In fact, the combo ticket is the more expensive option.
111op is offline  

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