An exclusive mountaintop villa on the western shore of Lake Como, Villa Bonomi affords breathtaking panoramic views, 4 acres of flourishing gardens, a tranquil swimming pool, AD worthy interiors and eleven sublime guest rooms.
Your feet may be on the ground at this charming period villa, but your head will be in the clouds. I suppose this should come as no surprise considering the breathtaking mountaintop roost of this exclusive Lake Como property that's remained fairly hush-hush through the years. Thanks to its recent acquisition and top-to-toe renovations by prolific floral designer + event production guru, Vincenzo Dascanio, the luxury villa is an Art Nouveau masterpiece in a fairytale setting. Staying true to its origin story (it was initially built as a 16th birthday present for its namesake, the famous entrepreneur Anna Bonomi, which by the way... seriously puts our own Sweet Sixteens to shame), Villa Bonomi features a vertical garden, panoramic terraces, romantic promenade, verdant parterre, sculptural lawn, glistening swimming pool and winding forest path. No wonder inspiration for the interiors was drawn from its own lush paradise. Further, this wisteria-crowned gem borrowed styling philosophies from the aristocratic Italian bistros of the early 1900s, which you'll notice in everything from the exquisite floral motifs and checkered floors to the whimsical chandeliers with lights unfurling like petals of a blossom in spring. As if the charm of this exclusive Alp-kissing dominion wasn't already off the richter, the exceptional handiwork of Italy's most famous artisans, architects and landscape designers can be witnessed throughout - altogether making Villa Bonomi one of the best kept secrets on the lake.
An exclusive mountaintop villa on the western shore of Lake Como, Villa Bonomi boasts breathtaking panoramic views, 4 acres of flourishing gardens, a tranquil swimming pool, AD worthy interiors and 11 sublime guest rooms.
Much like Daisy Buchanan, this beaut is a heartbreaker. It's a timeless atmosphere where flora and fauna reign supreme, while the masterfully decorated interiors echo the natural surroundings in the most tender of whispers. Olive green molding and wainscoting is juxtaposed by celadon wallpaper with a peach-colored floral motif. Hand-carved mahogany furniture with undulating profiles and botanical gold inlay sit beneath elegant blown-glass chandeliers by Bottega Veneziana that were custom made for each space. Art deco scallops curve across the domed ceiling dining room, while antique gilt mirrors reflect the lake and mountain views from all angles. It's hard not to make excuses to stay inside the whole time, but with these mountains calling, you'd be remiss not to answer.
The spectacular cascading gardens are the work of Pietro Porcinai, arguably the best Italian landscape designer of the 20th century. Connected by winsome stone steps and serpentine paths, the manicured emerald plots afford some of the most dynamic vantage points and intriguing views of the lake in all of Lombardy. Bold geometrical arches and classical sculptures distinguish one section of the garden, while gentle ripples of pastel colors from blooming azaleas, rhododendrons and camellias fraternize with leafy foliage from maple, oak and pomegranate trees.
Parts of the property feel like Karl Lagerfeld's unforgettable transformation of the Grand Palais for Chanel's haute couture runway show for the Spring/Summer 2018 collection. Sage green latticework that welcomes trailing vines, wisteria and roses like Europeans welcome the month of august... with open arms and never looking back. While some of the spaces feel cozy and intimate, others are strategically left open to accommodate larger groups and ensure the views can always take center stage.
Perched on a mountaintop, the easiest way for your guests to arrive is a fleet of sprinter vans that can zip them up to Villa Bonomi's picturesque entrance from a central meeting point - perhaps the nearby Villa d'Este, which is a more-than-suitable option for overflow accommodations. Welcome drinks might happen in the paved courtyard, adjacent to the Loggia (often referred to as the Sculpture Garden). This makes for a seamless transition to the ceremony space, which is very often this enclosed garden space as the views facing the lake and the garden walls are equally stunning.
From here, you can make your way past the the pool towards the long promenade - a lovely spot for drinks + canapés considering its infinite array of views and generous shade. The ornate iron gates edging this cliffside stretch of green are dotted with additional blooms that draw the eyes up + out towards the lake, making it a flawless environment for mingling + noshing over Cocktail Hour or a Welcome Party.
Equally enticing are the ground floor interiors, which can fit up to 160 guests throughout the connecting rooms. Whether you love the idea of Italian salon settings for welcome drinks or cocktails or you simply need a pretty weather backup space, these gorgeous, roomy interiors are beloved by everyone.
The spacious Parterre that encompasses the villa's lakeside is an exquisite area for receptions and can host up to 300 people. (Though keep in mind that should any guest count exceeding 100 will require the rental of a marquee/tent structure as the rain backup.) Not only is the grass level here, the space is positioned conveniently against the villa's main floor should anyone need to use the restroom during the reception, cozy up on the lounge furniture inside when not on the dance floor or change into a fabulous second look for the grand reception entrance.
An oft-forgotten benefit of hilltop wedding venues is the visual treat they offer once the sun sets. Fanciful rows of ambient light from the stacked homes below and lake-spanning villages in the distance light the night sky in a perfectly imperfect procession that makes us wonder if Villa Bonomi was in fact the muse for that exceedingly magical scene in Tangled. It's simply spellbinding.
A separate building within the gardens acts as the dance atrium for late night parties that don't have to be as conscious of the neighbors as they would be outside. Perhaps it shouldn't come as a surprise that a private wedding venue opened by a well-seasoned event designer is so equipped for large guest counts, dynamic event spaces and solutions to typical challenges like weather backups + noise restrictions, but Villa Bonomi truly is a breath of fresh air in a land understandably ruled by Italian preservation societies and strict Italian HOA's.
Offering the services of a boutique hotel in conjunction with the exclusivity of a private estate, the accommodations are one of Villa Bonomi's most glorious perks. Not only do each of the 11 luxury suites feature their own distinctive decor ranging from scalloped velvet headboards in bold jewel tones to soft tone-on-tone floral wallpaper with a delicate, femme feel, the rental comes with a dedicated staff (villa manager, housekeeping, gardener, both pre-arranged and ad hoc food + bev service, lifeguard and private security). No splitting hairs about how you'll stay hands-free during your wedding week!
All in all, the guest rooms sleep up to 22 people and are divided amongst the 1st and 2nd floors of the main villa and a smaller gatehouse that's tucked cozily nearby. For our fellow Americans, this translates to the 2nd and 3rd floors of the main villa. In addition to the mosaic-tiled pool with its impossibly romantic lake views, there's a tennis court, a helipad and even a drop-dead-gorgeous kitchen.
As for our favorite dwellings? The jury's still out. We're simply finding it contrary to reason to choose between the Master Suite, with its large balcony overlooking the parterre and Room No. 09 with its sage + mustard palette surrounding a nature-inspired crystal bud chandelier. After all, that's the beauty of a buyout. You can say arrivederci forever to decision fatigue like this.
A mere 10 minutes by car from the towns of Como, Cernobbio and Moltrasio, Villa Bonomi skirts some of the most esteemed restaurants, shops and attractions in Lake Como, along with the illustrious five-star hotel Villa d'Este. Nestled along the western shore, Villa Bonomi occupies a highly convenient home base for exploring a variety of notable villages, snagging some coveted access to prominent palazzos like Villa Erba and Villa Pizzo, enjoying some water sports or lazy boat days, planning a hiking, cycling or golfing excursion or simply soaking up the views from your Mount Olympus style sanctuary.
Within Como, you and your guests can explore such marvelous gardens as those of the storied palazzo Villa Olmo, though if you're finding it impossible to transcend that top-of-the-world feeling, you might want to stowaway on Como's funicular to the tippy-top mountain town of Brunate - equally as famous for its panoramic lake views as Villa Bonomi. Also not to be missed is the Cathedral of Como, the last of the Gothic cathedrals built in Lombardy, which broke ground in 1396 - only 10 years after the foundation of the cathedral of Milan.
Privacy, comfort and quality are the pillars Villa Bonomi is built upon. So for the discerning couple who wants to feel like high profile locals as opposed to hotel guests, this home away from home offers a fitting respite from the traditional wedding venue. We love the way their dedicated staff has you and your guests covered for the entire stay with anything you could possibly need, offering you the perks of a hotel without feeling like one. And as an added bonus, you're within arm's reach of some of Lake Como's most popular towns, experiences and historic sites!
It truly is your dominion for a spell. And how often can you say your humble abode looks out over the glistening waters of Lake Como and the snow-capped Alps beyond? A view you can enjoy from your cushion-clad lounger next to the panoramic pool, aperol-spritz in hand and freshly warmed towels, twisted like tootsie rolls on deck. (Though as this venue guide has proven, the buck doesn't stop there!)
Not only does the villa limit the number of events they take on each year, they ask that only one event be hosted on-site during your stay. This allows them to maintain the exceptional quality of the property, grounds and services, without compromising your ability to enjoy the villa as a home with your overnight guests. So if you're looking for a wedding venue to host all of your wedding events across multiple days, Villa Bonomi is probably not the best fit for you.
That being said, it's an excellent choice if you're planning to stay in one place for at least 3 nights (or at least treat your VIPs to such an experience), and you're open to spicing your itinerary up with ancillary events in other nearby venues such as Villa d'Este, Villa Pizzo, Villa Erba or beyond.
While there is no boat dock for Villa Bonomi, you can easily access the villa by car from nearby towns like Como or Cernobbio (for starters) within 10 minutes, so no matter how you divvy up your wedding weekend events, this mountaintop estate could metamorphosis into whatever purpose you see fit - as a luxury home base for you and your VIPs, as a scenic Welcome Party location to kick things off with your full group of guests, as a bridal party hangout for pool days, massage treatments, yoga classes or pasta making worksohps, as a rehearsal dinner spot in the al fresco promenade, sculpture enveloped loggia or magazine-worthy dining salon or, of course, as a wedding day venue with multi-dimensional options for each component of the day.
Lugano Agno Airport (LUG)
Milan Malpensa Airport (MXP)
Milan Linate Airport (LIN)
Milan Bergamo Airport (BGY)
1 hr, 15 min
Como San Giovanni
10 min (by car)
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