Villa of the Month: Villa Altrove, Italy

This month Brummell finds serenity in a refurbished 18th-century villa on the shores of glamorous Lake Como

Travel and Wellbeing 23 Feb 2024


The background

There really is something magical about Lake Como. Italy’s third-largest lake, located in the northern Lombardy region of the country, isn’t just a playground for the rich and famous, which has been the case since the 16th century, when wealthy families from nearby Milan decamped to the area and built stately villas – long before George Clooney et al followed suit. It’s a romantic and intoxicating place surrounded by dramatic mountains, picture-postcard villages and pastel-coloured villas dotted with cypress trees and immaculate gardens. Life – as with many an Italian destination – is enjoyed at a leisurely pace, and revolves around the 29 mile-long lake and its constant whirl of activity, including the occasional splash of a private seaplane landing or taking off. Whether you visit on a day trip from Milan (an increasingly popular and inexpensive tourist hack that takes just 40 minutes on the train) or stay for a fortnight every summer, Lake Como is the kind of place that immediately seeps under your skin, with the temptation to return again and again a permanent itch.


The villa

Located in Pognana Lario, roughly halfway between Como and Bellagio, is the impressive Villa Altrove. A grand 18th-century lakeside villa, which has been meticulously remodelled over the past three years, Villa Altrove is distinctly minimalist compared to many of its ostentatious neighbours, with neutral-coloured, large open-plan spaces flooded with natural light and built around uninterrupted views of the lake. The contemporary design, masterminded by its architect owner, creates an effortlessly serene and relaxing atmosphere. The villa sleeps up to 12 people, with five suites – all with lake views and en-suite bathrooms (complete with Japanese toilets) – plus an additional apartment with its own kitchen, living room, master bedroom, smaller bedroom and bathroom. On the gorgeous outdoor terrace is a heated swimming pool that appears built over the lake itself. More impressive still is the 22-seat private cinema, accessed via a staircase that hugs a wall of exposed Moltrasio rock; a speciality of the region.

Stays at Villa Altrove include daily butler service, private chef and in-house concierge service who can organise optional activities such as yoga, pilates and massage, as well as private airport transfer on a classic Riva-style boat. There’s a private dock that includes your very own Venetian-style wooden boat (included in the price, fuel is extra) and plenty of other ways to explore the lake, even by windsurfing or paddleboarding. The surrounding towns of Bellagio, Como, Menaggio and Tremezzo are all worth exploring, whether you access them in a hired car or make a grand entrance on the water.

The details

Villa Altrove is available to rent from €50,000-€70,000 per week from