3 Best Sights in Bellagio, Lombardy and the Lakes

Villa Melzi

The famous gardens of the Villa Melzi were once a favorite picnic spot for Franz Liszt, who advised author Louis de Ronchaud in 1837, "When you write the story of two happy lovers, place them on the shores of Lake Como. I do not know of any land so conspicuously blessed by heaven." The gardens are open to the public, and though you can't get into the 19th-century villa, don't miss the lavish Empire-style family chapel. The Melzi were Napoléon's greatest allies in Italy (the family has passed down the name "Josephine" to the present day). Guided tours are available with advance booking.

Lungo Lario Manzoni, Bellagio, 22021, Italy
031-950318-guided tour bookings
Sights Details
Rate Includes: €8, Closed Nov.–late Mar.

Villa Monastero

By ferry from Bellagio it's a quick trip across the lake to Varenna. The principal sight here is the spellbinding garden of the Villa Monastero, which, as its name suggests, was originally a monastery. There's also a house museum where you can admire 18th-century furnishings, as well as an international science and convention center.

Viale Giovanni Polvani 4, Varenna, 23829, Italy
Sights Details
Rate Includes: Garden €10, garden and house €13, Check the website for updated seasonal hours

Villa Serbelloni Garden

This property of the Rockefeller Foundation has celebrated gardens on the site of Pliny the Elder's villa, overlooking Bellagio. There are only two 1½-hour-long guided visits per day, at 11 am and 3:30 pm, with a maximum of 30 people each, and in May they tend to be booked by whole groups. It's wise to arrive early to sign up at the starting point, at the Bellagio tourist office in the medieval tower in St. Giacomo Square. The garden also closes due to bad weather, so call in advance.

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