Luxury Explorer Review

Luxury Villa Review

Villa La Cassinella

Italy, Lake Como

An extraordinary private estate on Lake Como that has few if any equals

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Villa La Cassinella
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Villa La Cassinella


8 double bedrooms and a studio


Up to 17 guests


Secluded position close to the town of Lenno, on the Western shores of Lake Como. Only accessible by private launch

Travel Information

Private launch transfers from Como and Cernobbio, with Milan Malpensa Airport an hour from there

Top Tips

Enjoy the silence and privacy of the finest house on the loveliest lake in the world. If you are feeling active, there are watersports, boat trips in a Riva launch, hiking, mountain biking and more


Too many to mention but, perhaps the 22 carat gold reflective tiles in the exquisite infinity swimming pool?

Read Our Villa Reviews

Ladies who Lake Como

Read Our Villa Reviews

Ladies who Lake Como

Villa La Cassinella

Built at the turn of the 19th century, this paradisiacal estate is available for exclusive private rental, accommodating up to 18 guests, Villa La Cassinella comprises several buildings which include the main villa, a pool house including gym facilities, a dependnce with two additional bedrooms and staff accommodation. The spacious and perfectly manicured gardens complement the estate's truly idyllic setting on the edge of Lake Como.

Read our travel editor, Sophie Marchant's, personal villa review, including her invitation to George Clooney's (altogether less impressive villa), for tea across the lake - Ladies who Lake Como provides a glimpse of what's on offer at Villa la Cassinella.

Nearly all of the 37 rooms throughout the estate enjoy stunning views of the lake, and outside dining is usually al fresco on one of the villa's many terraces. With amenities to match any world-class hotel, Villa La Cassinella provides well-trained and efficient staff to take care of your every whim. The butler, chef and housekeeper reside on the property and rooms are cleaned twice daily with a turn-down service and butlers on hand to ensure every guest is pampered..

Villa la Cassinella is recognised as one of the most exclusive properties on the lake and no guest could be disappointed with the array of activites and luxuries on offer.

Read our review, but meanwhile here are Villa la Cassinella's essential details:

Main House

  • Drawing room with stunning lake views
  • Dining room to seat up to 24 people with courtyard views
  • Studio room with lake views
  • Large foyer with old Siena marble and grand ornamental staircase
  • All bedrooms en-suite bathrooms
  • All bedrooms and bathrooms are fully air-conditioned with independent heat/cool control
  • All bedrooms in the main villa have flat-screen TVs, DVD players, satellite, and access to over 200 movies and 700 music CDs, available through the remote control for each bedroom on Kaleidescape hard drive system
  • All rooms have a telephone, used for outgoing/incoming calls and intercom facilities
  • Master bedroom with lake views, king-sized bed, parquet floors, working fireplace, and terrace with lake views. 'Office' with private fax machine and lake views leading to a marble master bathroom
  • Blue Bedroom (double) with hardwood floors, courtyard views, patio doors leading to a small terrace/balcony with a view of the lake and garden, and en-suite marble bathroom
  • Mountain bedroom (king or twin) with parquet floors, fireplace, garden and lake views, and en-suite marble bathroom
  • Bedroom four (king or twin) with fireplace, stone floor with large balcony, lake views, and en-suite marble bathroom
  • On the second floor there is a studio room with lake views, which is a relaxing room with sofas, books and a TV and separate bathroom with shower
  • There is also a studio suite containing a living room, office area, and single bedroom. This could be ideally used as either a nursery or a bedroom for a nanny
  • There is also a king or twin bedroom with en-suite bathroom

La Cassetta

  • Located adjacent to the main villa
  • This contains a full home cinema with a Kaleidescape hard drive facility and a gym fully stocked with TechnoGym equipment
  • This property also contains a separate bathroom with a shower and small kitchen to service the gym, the cinema, and the pool
  • Next to La Cassetta is an outdoor heated swimming pool with infinity edge overlooking the lake
  • To the left and right of the swimming pool are seating areas with umbrellas for sunbathing in privacy or lake views
  • There is also a floodlit tennis court with artificial grass surface on the property


  • Bedroom 1 (king or twin) with bathroom plus gallery/loft space with a single bed
  • Bedroom 2 (single) with en-suite bathroom
  • Fully-equipped kitchen with a living/dining room, outdoor dining and sunbathing areas
  • This house is ideal for visiting guests

Ladies who Lake Como

Villa La Cassinella is phantasmagorical. Its setting too is, quite simply, out-of-this-world. if the choice was a private yacht or a stay at the villa - the villa wins hands down.

At short notice I asked five ladies or 'lakies' to join me for a lifetime experience on one of the planet's most coveted lakes: in one of the Cosmos's most exquisite private villas on the dreamy shores of Lake Como. There was Kathleen, novelist and Vogue beauty editor; Lene - film producer; Lu (Lady of the Lake); Tine, the ultimate rock-chick; Jennifer, travel/screen writer (whose mother was staying with George Clooney); and very fortunate me.

We flew out from London as dawn was breaking to a beaming day in Italy's fashionista capital, Milan. Victoria, the villa's dream fulfiller, and our 'fairy lake god-mother', was waiting with a smile that would set afloat every vessel on Como. With skillfully packed hand luggage it took only minutes to reach our slick, blissfully air-conditioned, S-Classes and forty-five minutes later we were on our sexy, fully throttled, motor launch: a slick and seamless departure from Como's Piazza Cavour pier. With our hair and London life behind us, we raised a glass of sparkles to this heavenly lake.

Passing several shoreline landmarks, we were impressed. No wonder Verdi composed La Traviata here; and of course Wordsworth, Shelley, Puccini and Rossini were all inspired by Lake Como's charm. For our launch to have glided past this 'place of paradise' would have felt normal, but the fact was that this is where we 'lakies' landed.

The butler and staff, including Victoria (she reappears as though by magic) and Sonia, the sartorially elegant, hands-on, smooth villa operator, greeted us from La Cassinella's front-of-house pier, together with trays of twinkling flutes, scented towels, and a well-groomed 'lake grace'. As we stepped through the princely wrought-iron gates, guarded on either side by two finely sculptured, beautifully patinated, stone-figurines, and into the wondrous jasmine-infused fold of this terracotta-kissed haven, we fell speechless and instantly spellbound. Does it ever get better than this?

Maggie Austin, interior designer extraordinaire, with a demon-eye for luxuriant perfection, masterminded the resurrection of Como's most exceptional private villa - La Cassinella. As she led us from room to room and suite to suite in order to familiarise us with our palatial surroundings, she pointed out some of the outstanding features, such as the 18th century hand-painted doors from the Le Marche; the wonderful collection of literary antiquary behind the glass panels of the library/sitting room's fine cabinets on the second floor; the carvings, the sculptures, the paintings...

When it came to bedrooms, it soon became clear there would be no boudoir badinage, as they are ALL sublime. However, I dropped my bag onto the original parquet floor of the 'mesmeric master' and placed my hat on the empress-sized, hand-sprung, bed of dreams. The room glowed in its soft eau-de-nil glory, while the lake's enchanting iridescences, a mere pearl's throw from the south-facing French doors and windows, felt integral. The adjoining studio with writing desk and that view from the glorious palladium windows was sensational. No wonder Como is, and always has been, the chosen retreat for artists and noblemen alike - it would inspire the most prosaic of souls. And the marble bathroom for a goddess was beyond stars...

Past presence...

Villa La Cassinella was the summer love of several generations of the same family of Como architects, the Mantegazzas, a-listers from Italy's transcript of 'Who's Who'. This euphemistically termed 'home' has been one of Como's prized shoreline spectacles for over a century, neighbouring exclusively with the glorious Villa del Balbianello; a contender for the next seven wonders, on Como's most private promontory, Lenno. The sense of otherworldly that surrounds this property is enhanced by its secluded mountainside setting, offering total neighbour exclusion together with a landscape that puts the velvet into grass, the orange into Japanese maple, the scent into rose, the vine into ivy and the perfect into pruning: the sky-surging cypress trees are hand pruned regularly from a death-dropping height, while a long standing plane tree has been conjured into a shade-bearing umbrella with a span of at least twenty metres, Meanwhile, mature ivy wraps its timeless tendrils around the Doric columns.

Little ponds with spurting cherubs amid floating water lilies are visited by resident ducks near the docking inlet at the side of the house. Podgy antique putti statues and weathered gargoyles pop up and out with unexpected Renaissance delight from alcoves and on outside walls. The perfumed pink, rouge, and faded-yellow rose garden behind the pristine astro-turf tennis lawn, brags decade-old specimens: silver troughs tumbling with a cornucopia of garden flora adorned the suites and loggia.

The lake is fantastically in your face however, land-kind are neither seen nor heard. Access is by boat alone, creating a serene and unwavering sense of peace. The wildlife thrives here; peregrines and duck hawks circle overhead before diving into their cliffside nests. Adorable goldcrests flit in and out of the sweeping conifers while sparrows, robins, swallows and the greater tits are forever chattering.

The many stone paths are never without a darting lizard but, thankfully, most of the bug varieties seem to have settled elsewhere: it's just as you would have envisaged Eden before the apple incident.

The original salmon hued colour of the house, with its remarkable criss-cross of ancient ivy together with the marine-blue shutters is as was, though now pristine. Inside, the glorious cream and honey-hued marble staircase caused one 'lakey' to break into song whenever she descended; the balconies from our suites turned us all into 'Juliets' and the omniscient sense of Italy's finest has made us yearn for a Como dwelling.

The furnishings - both fitted and fixed - are so stunning that we all vowed to smarten up our own house-acts. However, this exceptional standard of luxe-villa-guest-life, that offers the full cosmos of stars equal to any luxury hotel, combined with the intimacy, space and freedom of a private home, is quite unique, almost priceless...

Pool perfection

The lake-hued infinity pool with nighttime light-changes and 22-carat sun-reflecting gold flecks, appears to drop directly into the beckoning lake. The surrounding deck, and raised lake-facing lawn, lavished with the ultimate in poolside 'decorum', will forever be our benchmark for pool/lake perfection. It was never easy pulling oneself away from this area but there is simply so much to behold at La Cassinella and within its surrounding areas... not to mention a lake-side dalliance (yes we met Mr Clooney, well, Jen and I did, much to the chagrin of our fellow 'lakies'); plus a swift shopping spree 'full throttle' to the nearby village of Bellagio; a dinner on Como's only island at Locanda dell'Isola Comacina, a few laps from the villa; or best of all, being sublimely spoilt in-house.

Dining a la loggia

There are several areas to 'dine out in' around the villa and as we were blessed with Utopian skies, searing blue with a scattering of cirrus and a welcome breeze, dining was naturally al fresco. Our favourite eatery became the jasmine laden loggia, with views of the lake, the gate, and the softest looking mountain on the far side. For maximum privacy the area can be screened off with a quick drop of slatted blinds, though we chose to dine wide open to the wondrous elements.

The Australian trained chef, Philip, works with the seasons and local organic ingredients. A genuine gastronomist, his immaculate kitchen cooked up banquet-style spreads that would impress the most discriminating of gourmets. Linen cloaked tables were laden with silver platters proffering an array of anti, primo and secondi delights: nicoise was with fresh seared tuna; tiny red tomatoes burst with sweetness amid a flurry of fresh basil; home spun pasta laced with local piquancy subdued all manner of diets; some 'lakies' turned to grilled lobster while others preferred scallops; I personally was bold over by his polenta and char-grilled, chunky, crisp prawns. His love of chocolate does not go unnoticed - we all succumbed. The house wines were faultless, though if we had expressed a hankering for Cristal or Le Montrachet then that too could be arranged.

Remember, this is a place of dreams, a paradisiacal lakeside retreat, and nothing, absolutely nothing is too much or too little for the team behind the dream; spearheaded hiccup-free by the lovely Victoria. Did I mention the gym and the staggering new cinema? Yes those too, are yours for your stay. Oh, and I forgot to mention the masseuse and beautician who worked on the 'lakies' when desired. Frocks pressed, rooms instantly redressed, cocktails poolside, egg white and lettuce diet, water-ski instructor, baby sitter: it's endless. We all wish to return, with husbands, or lovers, and children, it sleeps fifteen and possibly more... and my lottery ticket number begins with 8 and ends in infinite.

Read the full specification for Villa La Cassinella.

Sophie Marchant
Sophie Marchant

Luxury Explorer
Luxury Explorer