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Lake Como- Which villa has the best garden?

Lake Como- Which villa has the best garden?

Old Jun 25th, 2017, 08:44 AM
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Lake Como- Which villa has the best garden?

We are going to stay in Varenna for 4 nights in 2 weeks and will be busy with trips to Lugano, Bergamo, Como. But I still would like to sample one or two villas with nice gardens and great views. Gardens and good views are more important for me than the indoor parts of villas (I am a little bit tired of all of these museums).
Villa del Balbianello, Villa Melzi d’Erril, Villa Monastero, Sebelloni garden, Villa Cipressi, Villa Carlotta which one should I choose? Or do you have any other suggestions?
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Old Jun 25th, 2017, 08:53 AM
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Lugano, Bergamo and Como will each take up the better part of a day, or at least 4-5 hours in the case of Como.

So you may be using up 3 days out of your 4 nights, 3 days trip?

Of course the days are long in July so you'll have daylight until 8-9 PM but I would pay attention to the ferry schedules. Pretty sure the last ferry TO Varenna is around 8 PM.

I like Villa Balbianello gardens and views. You can either take a separate boat from the nearest ferry stop for additional cost or hike about 30-45 minutes each way, though the path has a steep climb and descent. I remember that path being very scenic as well.

Villa Serbelloni will get you great views as well. But you have to book the tour so access to that is limited to specific times.
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Old Jun 25th, 2017, 09:53 AM
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I'm not sure why you'd take a day trip to Como when staying in Varenna for such a short time. The area around Varenna is more scenic than that around Como. It sounds as though your whole stay will be consumed in visits to other places.

I liked the Villa Carlotta, although I thought the Villa Melzi (in Bellagio)had nicer gardens. The Villa Melzi stretches for a long distance along the lake front, and you can enter at one end and exit at the other.
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Old Jun 25th, 2017, 10:48 AM
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Villa Melzi looks nice from the water. You can see it if you take the ferry to Villa Balbianello.

Como could be interesting if you go up to the cable car for the views. But it is a long boat ride. You can get the fast ferry down and back for a little more.

Or you can take the Pigra-Argegno cable car not too far from the mid lake for views.

If you have a car, it's great to drive towards Lugano and stop by the "Balcony of Italy" which overlooks Lake Lugano.
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Old Jun 25th, 2017, 11:05 AM
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My favorites in this order are Villa Serbelloni( incredible views), Villa Melzi in Bellagio, Cilla Monasterio in Varenna. I didn't care for Villa Carlotta. Melzi and Monasterio both stretch along the lakeside and that is why I really enjoyed them.
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Old Jun 25th, 2017, 11:44 AM
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bvlenci thank you for your input.
scrb11, do you think I should drop trip to Lugano and spend more time in the mid-lake area? I am not much villa lover but I like combination of lake and mountains.
Idea was to take slow ferry to Como in the morning and on way back stop in Lenno to see villa Balbianello and come back to Varenna or Bellagio, depending on time.
I have read some posts about Varenna and it looks like it is very small with not much to do, but a good base for side trips. I hope the weather will be OK for great views.
We will do short trip to lake Maggiore too before our departure to US.
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Old Jun 25th, 2017, 11:56 AM
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I liked the Villa Melzi garden the best, followed by Monastero. Balbianello has a spectacular location but the actual garden is quite samll. Carlotta would be fantastic in April, but is not as good later in the year.

I didn't go to Serbelloni or Cipressi, but the latter is next door to Monastero so you could easily do both.

I'd drop Lugano, definitely - I was quite disappointed in it. But Bergamo is delightful.
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Old Jun 25th, 2017, 03:09 PM
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I didn't mind the Lugano day trip. You have to take the ferry to Menaggio and back, before getting on the bus.

The bus climbs up over Menaggio and you get some nice views of the Lake. Then the area just before you reach Porlezza and Porlezza itself are also scenic.

The bus goes through a border check. I didn't have to show my passport but the border guards peeked into the bus before letting the bus pass. May be a good idea to have the passport just in case.

This was in May, so the border crossing didn't take too long. In the summer, there might be more cars and other buses trying to cross the border.

I didn't venture too far out from the bus stops in Lugano. I didn't think the lakefront area for that part of Lugano was as scenic as Lake Como (Varenna, Bellagio, Menaggio).

But I know there are other parts of Lugano or vantage points not too far from Lugano which look spectacular.

So I don't regret going. Another reason was, I was suffering from hay fever at the time. Turns out that many of the villa owners around the mid Lake imported plants and flowers from all over the world. So if you had allergies, there was a high probability that there was something in that area which would cause strong allergic symptoms.

When I took day trips to Lugano or Bergamo, as soon as I left, my symptoms cleared up. Then as soon as I returned to Varenna, they returned.
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