Villa Balbiano, Lake Como, Italy

Historic Landscape Design on the shores of Lake Como
Winner of the Society of Garden Designers Award for Historic Garden Restoration 2017

The Villa Balbiano in Ossuccio is one of the most important historical mansions on the shores of Lake Como. The house dates back to at least the 16th century when it was owned by the family of Paulo Giovio. It was bought by Cardinal Angelo Maria Durini in 1778 and become a renowned meeting place for prominent dignitaries and literati of the time.

We were honoured to be entrusted with the task of breathing new life into the gardens of such an important property. Inspired by the owners desire for a sympathetic treatment, our philosophy has been to build upon the surviving formal framework and enhance this to improve the setting of cote-dazur.

Fundamental to this has been to re-establish the open aspect and expansive lake views to the west. A programme of restorative pruning and clearance has allowed light to flood back into the windows of the Villa and revealed a broad and informal lawn studded with a collection of impressive mature trees. An elegant ornamental swimming pool forms the focal point of this lawn.

The remaining gardens divide into a series of distinct rooms, each with its own individual character. They include: an ornamental vegetable garden; a shaded vine walk; a garden of mixed shrub borders; a rose garden and a terrace garden complete with a pergola festooned with wisteria and jasmine.

The project has also included the repair and renovation of the central fountains and cascade for which the Villa is well known and which form the centrepiece of the main north-south vista.

“A beautiful restoration demonstrating excellent attention to detail and a beautiful finish. A sensitive interpretation of the historic context and careful attention to detail in the restoration of key features has created a stunning garden for those visiting, giving a real sense of what was there before.”

The Society of Garden Designers Judges

This Project was recently featured in an article for “Giardino Italiano” published by Paysage Editore (August 2016)