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Villa Passalacqua

An exclusive hotel on Lake Como

Until the early twentieth century, wealthy and noble Italian families who lived in cities used to spend the summer months in villas in the countryside, often by the lake, hence the word ‘villeggiatura.’ Villa Passalacqua, in Moltrasio on Lake Como, is one such villa. Built in the second half of the 18th century, by Earl Andrea Lucini Passalacqua, with Swiss architect Felice Soave and interior decorator Giocondo Albertolli, Villa Passalacqua is one of the largest summer villas on Lake Como. Over the centuries, several illustrious people have passed from this mansion, such as the poet Carlo Porta, or the composer Vincenzo Bellini, who composed Norma here. 

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In 2018, the De Santis family, a hotelier family that formerly owned the Grand Hotel Tremezzo, also on Lake Como, bought the villa at auction, to restore it to its former glory. Villa Passalacqua had a great past; the renovation had to respect its history. The project was developed in different stages involving different architects; the first phase was handled by the San Francisco-based firm BAMO, which gave the general layout. On the other hand, the structural part was taken by Studio Venelli Kramer. The mansion includes the Villa, which is the main building and features plenty of Baroque frescoes. The Palazzo hosts some suites in the former stables, decorated with exposed beams and covered in fabrics. Closer to the lakeshore and more recent is the Casa al Lago (House by the Lake), which houses more suites with private gardens and fireplaces. Villa Passalacqua also features a lake-view pool and a spa, located in the old cow troughs. For an even more chic, country vibe, Villa Passalacqua also offers wild strawberries grown on site, and fresh eggs from the directly operated chicken coop. 

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The new rooms are a triumph of the best made in Italy, with Rubelli and Dedar fabrics, and Venini and Barovier & Toso for glass and lighting. Barovier & Toso, among others, specially designed a Murano glass chandelier for the Music Room, nearly 6 meters high and fitted with 59 bulbs. The wide bathrooms come in Verona and Carrara marble of 20 different types; some small artisans, such as Bottega Conticelli, crafted the leather accessories for the bedrooms. The spirit of the resort of yesteryear also returns in all the outdoor areas. Here, interior designer JJ Martin also collaborated to recreate the atmosphere of the old mansions in the areas around the pool, with a magnificent view of the lake. Photos by Stefan Giftthaler and Ricky Monti

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The Ladies Hall
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The Bellini suite
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The kitchen, open to the guests
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The trunk in the suite hides the TV
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The winter garden

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