Varenna’s unique position on the eastern shore of Lake Como, Italy has afforded the town with fantastic vistas to and from the lake. On the southern end of Varenna’s lakefront are two quintessential centuries old Villas, both with incredible gardens that also enjoy fantastic vistas to and from the lake, and both of which are open to the public, although you do have to pay a modest fee.
Villa Cipressi is actually a functioning luxury hotel. Its fabulous gardens terrace down the hillside from the Villa to the lake and are very popular for weddings. The first 8 photos show some views of and from the gardens.
Villa Monastero, formerly a 13th century Cistercian monastery, is operated as both a museum and conference center. Its extensive gardens, which extend along the lakefront on either side of the Villa, were developed into botanical gardens which to this day have been carefully maintained. The layout of the gardens is a result of a series of terraced paths outlined with various species of exotic plants and trees. The main path forms a promenade along the lakefront with spectacular views to the lake and back to the Villa. Additionally, there are various architectural elements such as statues, balustrades, temples, vases, and fountains are dispersed throughout. Quoting the Villa’s brochure: “The terracing of the land favored the division of the garden into a sequence of frames with recurring elements, such as the rows of cypresses along the entrance road to the Villa, which are characteristic of the area, cedars, and evergreen hedges. ……..The layout of all these elements is fascinating: Paths and staircases blend perfectly with the surrounding area and the background of the lake. In some cases, the architectural elements seem to serve the sole purpose of highlighting landscape perspectives…”
Villa Monastero is a fabulous must-see place that deserves at least several hours of your time. Come with a no-hurry attitude so you can relax and soak in the quiet sounds of nature, beautiful fauna, and memorable lake views. I have added 16 photos for your viewing pleasure.