LA DOLCE VITA AT VILLA D'ESTE

Credit: Villa d'Este

It’s no secret the current COVID-19 pandemic has led to countless summer plans being cut short and flights cancelled (myself included!). However, as restrictions begin to ease, I thought I’d suggest the perfect weekend getaway for you, so that you can cure those holiday blues!

And where better to do so than Lake Como? My perfect trip would consist of two things in particular. Let’s start with the first; staying at the unrivalled Villa D’Este hotel in Cernobbio. Perhaps the pride and jewel of Lago di Como, this 16th Century Villa is amongst the finest hotels in the world. Famed for its 25 acres of landscaped gardens and prime position on the Lake, the hotel is incomparable in its offering of traditional Italian cuisine and stunning interiors.


Credit: Villa d'Este

I’d start the day with a breakfast at the Veranda, looking out across the water and at the pristine gardens of the hotel. The large windows offer an unobstructed view of the stunning scenery, and if the weathers on your side al fresco dining is a no brainer. From there I’d take some time to explore the grounds and learn about the hotel and its vast history (if I go into this now, I’d be robbing you of such an experience), before eventually finding my way to the floating swimming pool. Not a bad way to spend the morning if you ask me. Additionally, the Sundeck Bar is on hand to supplement your poolside needs, serving a light lunch and cocktails throughout the day.

After burning the calories from the morning snacks in the pool, I’d suggest heading out onto the lake, whilst the sun is glaring and you’re in need of a fresh breeze.

As you know, we love to “Live Fast”. Whilst the grand hotel plays host to the annual Concorso D’Eleganza Villa D’Este, I thought it better to suggest a more appropriate mode of transport – with fewer wheels – for year-round enjoyment (and practicality!). After all, you’re on a lake. That’s where the legendary Riva Aquarama comes in – the second essential for this weekend trip.


Credit: Ted Gushue / Adrian Baias

Produced from 1962 to 1972, the iconic Aquarama was the runabout of choice for the jet-set of that era. Equipped with two V8 Riva-Crusader engines, it’s safe to say the boat isn’t just a pretty face. A total of 281 units were built with Ferruccio Lamborghini taking ownership of hull No.278, and in true Sant’Agata style, the automotive legend fitted his Aquarama with two of his marque’s V12 engines.


Credit: Slim Aarons

Crafted from varnished mahogany and finished with the iconic aquamarine/cream leather, I think it’s safe to say the Riva Aquarama captures the essence of “la dolce vita” perfectly. In true style, your Italian runabout will wait for you at the hotel’s private jetty, so you won’t be relying on Uber at any time.


Whilst there are hundreds of places I could suggest around the lake for a dinner to remember, you’re staying at Villa D’Este, so why go anywhere else? An afternoon spent exploring the nearby towns of Como and Varenna has probably left you craving a place to eat within walking distance of your bed (I don’t blame you). Besides, mooring the Riva outside the hotel is perhaps the most impressive way to arrive to dinner. I’d take it at the Grill, which offers a variety of local dishes as well as those more familiar nearer the Mediterranean. Once again dining al fresco, the tables are set under the spreading foliage of the century-old plane trees, and views of the lake are always welcomed especially whilst being served food from Michael Zambanini’s kitchen.

So, if you’re in need of a quick escape or are looking for your next indulgent weekend away, look no further than Villa D’Este. If you follow my advice you’ll be just fine!


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