Practically at the mid point of Lake Como, the villa appears almost unexpectedly at the end of a small green peninsula: the extreme tip of Dosso di Lavedo. It was originally a 'place of delights', created by Milanese Cardinal Angelo Maria Durini at the end of the 18th century. The last owner, explorer Guido Monzino, turned the interior into a kind of house-museum, where he kept his art collection and memorabilia from his mountaineering and polar expeditions. Monzino arranged for the building and surrounding gardens to be left to FAI, Fondo Ambiente Italiano, upon his death in 1988.
It is no exaggeration to say that Balbianello is still one of the most romantic villas on the lake today. It is almost too good to be true, which is why director George Lucas chose it as the timeless location for the most romantic scenes in the second episode of Star Wars. But the villa had already earned other appearances in the history of cinema, in films by Mario Soldati (Little Ancient World, 1941), John Irvin (A Month at the Lake, 1995) and Martin Campbell (Casino Royale, 2006).
The whole impression is indeed very scenic, with the landing stage and the monumental stairways, the small harbour adorned with statues of saints, the residence and the small church with its double bell tower, and the belvedere facing Comacina Island on one side and Bellagio on the other.. The manicured silhouettes of the trees in the park require the gardeners to perform acrobatic feats.
In terms of approach from dry land, we are in Lenno, from where you can set off or set sail.