Perched on a secluded hilltop, high above the clouds, Villa Ponti Bellavista offers unrivalled views over Lake Como. Designed by acclaimed Italian architect Gio Ponti – famed for designing transatlantic ships – the property, which sleeps up to 14 guests and resembles a ship setting sail, boasts indulgent interiors, lush grounds and an infinity edge swimming pool. It is the perfect retreat for a large family or group of friends and what’s more, it still has availability this year, through spring, summer and autumn.
The Villa, which was bought by Australian writer, campaigner and journalist Barbara Biggs, back in 2017, is the only mid-century villa on Lake Como. Biggs has spent the past five years restoring the abandoned villa to create her dream home – think terraces refashioned with cacciopesto, a wall of picture windows that drink in the views, modern amenities and landscaping that saw 150 hydrangeas planted alongside a new vegetable garden, pool and sauna. The restoration was sensitive to the original Gio Ponti architecture and his trademark nautical features are still everywhere, from the central spiral staircase to the ship-like funnels emerging from the roof, and the classic wood panelling in the entrance hall to the living room curved like a ship’s observation deck with an arc of windows overlooking the lake.
The hub of the house is the spacious living room – located on the top floor, it boasts 11 picture windows with panoramic views across Lake Como and over the Gringa mountains. Villa guests can relax on the original Formanova furniture, stir up a Negroni in the bar or, when the temperature cools, cosy up in the sunken Mad Men-style conversation lounge beside the huge belly fireplace – an echo of a ship’s curved stern. There are six bedrooms which can accommodate a party of up to 14, three of which enjoy lake views and most rooms have direct access to the terrace or garden.
Outside, there is an infinity edge pool, a hot tub and a bocce court, all of which take in the jaw-dropping views. There are two large terraces for enjoying alfresco meals and for spectating life on the lake. The tranquil grounds are also home to a vegetable and herb garden and are surrounded by a cedar woodland, making this a very private spot – though sightings of capriole deer and eagles aren’t uncommon here.
The Villa is ideally located for exploring the surrounding areas, with many picturesque towns and villages nearby. There are walking trails from the villa to nearby Civenna, which offers a butcher/cheesery, supermarket, fruit shop, pasticceria and bars. Or head to Bellagio, known as the ‘Pearl of Lake Como’, from where it’s possible to take a boat trip around the lake or try out a range of water sports. Lake Como is a great year-round spot: while the summer months are warm and buzzing with activity, the shoulder seasons are lovely and peaceful with autumn offering vibrant colors and winter a magical outlook with the snow-capped mountains and cosy fireside evenings.
Price: One week’s exclusive rental of Villa Ponti Bellavista costs from €9,700 (or €693pp based on 14 sharing). Weekly stays include: maid service (2hr/day), 4 complimentary massages, and aperitivo and dinner on arrival. Additional services such as driver, further massages and chef services can also be arranged. Guests can arrive by helicopter with a helipad five minutes’ walk from the Villa.
Special Offer: A 20% discount is currently being offered for week-long stays throughout May 2023.