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This “best hotel in the world” was built by the Pope and regularly visited by one of Italy’s most famous opera composers. Napoleon Bonaparte and Winston Churchill also stayed and strolled through the grounds. You could say that Passalacqua was always destined for big things.
A hotel on the shores of Lake Como was ranked number one in the first World’s 50 Best Hotels, held in London on September 19th. The judges, a team of industry experts, chose this 24-suite family-run property over properties run by major brands.
There are thousands of luxury hotels around the world, but only one is Passalacqua. Calling it a hotel almost feels redundant. We pay homage to another time and place and take you there through an extraordinary and luxurious journey.
General manager Silvio Vettorello attributes the victory to three unique characteristics. “Meraviglia [amazement]: That awe you feel in a place that is everything you imagined, yet can still surprise and amaze you. Storia [history]: History of the 18th century mansion. The atmosphere is reminiscent of a bygone era, yet very relaxing.and Familia [family] – 100 wonderful human beings who go above and beyond every day to create magic in every sense of the word, especially for our guests, and to ensure that all our dreams, both ours and ours, come true. It has been constructed. ”
Passalacqua was regularly visited by composer Vincenzo Bellini.
Passalacqua opened its doors in 2022 after three years of renovation. The owners, the local De Santis family, are no strangers to luxury hospitality. They also own the Grand Hotel Tremezzo in Como, known for its floating pool on the lake. Owners Antonella Marrone and Paolo De Santis have passed on the property to their 41-year-old daughter Valentina De Santis. Valentina, the CEO charged with restoring their company to its former glory;
She says every detail is close to her heart. Precious marble from Carrara and Verona, stunning chandeliers by Murano’s Barovier & Toso (especially the breathtaking chandelier hanging in the music room), Venetian mirrors, and luxurious Beltrami wood fiber bed linens.
The 7 acres of terraced lakeside gardens are meticulously landscaped and feature a tranquil soundtrack of fountains. Guests will spend time here having a drink, participating in yoga, or relaxing by the pool, which is adorned with vibrant vintage prints from Milanese brand La Double J.
“Passalacqua has a storied and rich history and offers unique experiences that evoke another era,” said De Santis.
It also hides many secrets.
“When you walk through the front gate, you enter a different world, and you may never want to leave,” she says.
“Quiet and private, yet just a stone’s throw from the lively village of Moltrasio. Open the door and explore the passageways to discover magnificent rooms and centuries-old views of Lake Como . You picture a lush ceiling full of clouds with gods and goddesses looking down on you. But one of the most pleasant surprises is the underground stone tunnel that leads from the villa to the lake. The tunnel is full of mystery and mystery. It’s full of intrigue.”
The room takes you back to the old days.
Standing in the majestic gardens and looking out over the lake, it’s not hard to imagine yesterday’s Moltrasio. Especially once the sun goes down and the glittering garden lights come on. The villa was acquired in 1787 by Count Passalacqua, a member of the local aristocracy. With regular horse-drawn carriages and concerts held late into the night, it soon became a grand playground for the aristocracy. Like the Count, the De Santis family saw something beyond special, almost magical, on the property.
In 1837, Vincenzo Bellini, who was a regular visitor to the villa, composed the opera La Sonnambra (The Sleepwalker), a story of unrequited desire and sleepwalking suffering during his stay. You can’t help but wonder what was going on behind these old walls. You can feel the weight of history, and on a crisp day you can almost hear the echoes of Bellini’s melodies.
That’s the magic of Passalacqua. It triggers thoughts through the present and connects you to another place, another time.
At our hotel, we strive to satisfy all five senses from check-in to check-out. The concierge can arrange local experiences. It looks like a hand-cut bouquet of flowers. Meditation and massage are always an option, as is a culinary program celebrating Italian heritage led by Chef Alessandro Rinaldi.
The kitchen is open for guests to come and go throughout the day to grab a snack or participate in baking and cooking. There are many others.
De Santis can tell you more about the villa’s splendor. While she is quick to declare that every hour of the day is special for her here, she also admits that there is nothing better than the early morning hours for her.
“Summer is when breakfast is served in the style of a large Italian country house. As you enter the kitchen, you can smell that wonderful aroma of coffee mixed with the heady scent of marmalade. crostata [like a giant jam tart] Fresh out of the oven.
“A glass of freshly squeezed orange juice, a meter high cake stand filled with granita and cream. Maritozzo Buns. Plus, we have a chef on hand to prepare whatever you like, including fried eggs that the chickens laid that morning. It’s the perfect start to a perfect day. ”
The lakeside villa has been meticulously renovated.
And what would a hotel be without guests? Vettello says this is her favorite part of her stay. Village Tura. In Italian, it means vacation in the countryside. But it means more than that. It is the essence of dreamlike escapism, an age-old habit of seeking a quieter environment away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Think “Bridgerton” or a Jane Austen novel. However, the setting is Italy.
Instead of the Scottish Highlands or the Yorkshire Moors, there’s Lake Como and its elegant gardens. Instead of a horse-drawn carriage, there’s a different kind of horsepower in the form of a vintage orange Italian jeep. Black tea is exchanged for Campari soda or Negroni Svariato. Instead of scones and jam, there are plenty of Italian aperitifs.
It’s an essential and quintessentially Italian feeling, a guilt-free pleasure of passing time, escaping the city and finding peace with nature. Think La Dolce Vita, but better! And the Passalacqua team has done a great job of reviving this old and rich art.
Passalacqua did not invent this term. Village TuraBut every detail of her embodies it. Her romantic 18th century villa has been transformed into the perfect luxury hotel where she can take a breather and forget her worries.
Of course, such luxury comes at a price. Rooms without lake views start from 1,300 euros ($1,381) per night, or 1,700 euros ($1,806) with lake views in November (lowest season). Next summer, prices will increase to 2,300 euros ($2,443) for a standard room without a lake view and 3,200 euros ($3,400) for the cheapest room with a view. Suites start at about $5,000 per night. Fortunately, the price includes breakfast.
When asked what this facility has in particular that no other place in the world has, Valentina replied, “It’s a place of wonder created from the heart.”
Maria Pasquale is an award-winning Italian-Australian food and travel journalist based in Rome. The author of I Heart Rome, How to be Italian, and The Eternal City: Recipes & Stories from Rome, you can follow her adventures on Instagram @heartrome.