Villa Passalacqua, love, joy of life on Lake Como

Passalacqua, an extraordinary property that stands out in the heart of the town of Moltrasio, on the shores of Lake Como, has recently opened its doors to its guests, after a long restoration that has brought it back to its original splendor. This is the latest passionate project by Paolo, Antonella and Valentina De Santis, a forward-thinking family of hotel entrepreneurs from Como, former owners of the Grand Hotel Tremezzo, who with love, affection and generosity have brought this incredible home back to life.

A historic home

Built on land originally owned by Pope Innocent XI, Villa Passalacqua was designed in the late 18th century at the request of Count Andrea Lucini Passalacqua, who commissioned the project for the architect Felice Soave and Giocondo Albertolli. The villa immediately became a meeting place for countless personalities of the time, welcoming some of the most ingenious brains in the world of music, literature, art and politics: from Napoleon Bonaparte to Winston Churchill. In 1829, Vincenzo Bellini made it his home, composing two of his most famous works, La Norma and La Sonnambula.
Today, Passalacqua reopens its doors with 24 magnificent suites spread over three different buildings, each with a distinct personality and unique charm. The main residence, the Villa, hosts 12 of them, who celebrate the abundance of Italian history with original frescoes, stucco and decorations. The palace’s 8 suites
– the old barn – is characterized by a welcoming and refined style, with centuries-old exposed beams and damask walls hand-painted by a team of restoration experts. Finally, a few steps from the water, Casa Al Lago is the ‘garden house’, ideal for exclusive use, with only 4 suites – each with a private garden – and inviting common rooms with large windows and lake views.

The Palazzo also houses the Spa, which offers exclusive Barbara Sturm treatments with two massage cabins, an oriental-inspired relaxation area in a column-vaulted space and a suggestive wet area created in the underground tunnel, one of the many fascinating secrets of Passalacqua. .

Italian excellence

For this ambitious project, the De Santis family has entrusted themselves to the expert hands of craftsmen and historic workshops and established important collaborations with Italian companies representing Made in Italy’s excellence in the world. For the lighting of the villa – where a spectacular chandelier over five meters high in the Music Room, where Bellini loved to play his arias stands out, and a special installation consisting of six chandeliers to the entrance on the main stairs, was entrusted to Barovier & Toso, a historic glass company founded in the 14th century and famous for its works of art that are still blown today by glaziers on the island of Murano. Il Bronzetto – Florentine artisan workshop specializing in brass processing – has created lamps and objects for all rooms in the villa, Casa al Lago and gardens, while Fortuny characterizes the Palazz with its silk and glass chandeliers, embroidered with its historic decorations.

For the bathrooms in Passalacqua, dozens of different types of precious spheres were used, selected by the family in the quarries of Carrara and Verona, plate by plate, with the aim of creating unique decorations that made each room special. The original Venetian terrazzo floors have been carefully restored, as well as the traditional Lombard terracotta tiles and parquet inlaid with different types of wood. All the mirrors are unique hand-decorated pieces signed by Barbini, a small family-run company born in 1927 in Venice, which has handed down its championship from generation to generation. Barbini also made to measure the inlaid mirror trumpets, which, like precious chests, hide the minibars in the suites.

Even for drugs, only niche companies representing the excellence of Italian spirits have been selected. The carefully selected upholstery fabrics to decorate the property in the most surprising color palettes, different in each room, are over two hundred, all different, designed by Rubelli, Dedar and Fortuny. In particular, the close and intense collaboration with Rubelli led to the creation of several exclusive fabrics for Passalacqua, including “Voile de Como”, a touch of veil of some of the most beautiful views of the lake, which later became the pattern for many of the facilities and details that surprise guests.
Beltrami bedding is made exclusively for Passalacqua in “wood fiber”, a natural fiber derived from birch trees, softer than silk. The curtains are made of fine silk taffeta, from Como, to celebrate the city’s important silk tradition.

Antique furniture, artwork and rugs have been personally purchased by the De Santis family at international trade shows and antique auctions, and a collection of nearly a thousand original antique prints has been created over the past three years to make each room unique.

The Bottega Conticelli in Orvieto has custom-made leather and fabric suitcases for Passalacqua, which hides the televisions in the suites, as well as numerous artefacts in leather and wood that adorn the rooms.

The hotel’s very elegant staff were dressed by the Roman tailor Giuliva Heritage, who created uniforms with a timeless appeal.

Dream gardens

One of Passalacqua’s most important treasures is the patio gardens overlooking the lake, packed with fountains, ancient trees and secret passages.
The Italian garden, on one of the first terraces, was designed by Emilio Trabella, an artist of the green and botanist of international fame, one of the greatest connoisseurs of the villas on Lake Como.

During the renovation work, a 20 meter long swimming pool was built on the adjoining terrace, an element that could not be missed to give Passalacqua its historic calling as a former resort back. The inspiration for its soft and classic shape with high edges is taken from the garden’s historic fountains, and it was chosen to cover it entirely in serpentine, a local stone originally from the nearby Val d’Intelvi, which with its gray tones greenish. reminiscent of the colors of the lake.

The solarium that surrounds it and the lounge area created inside the old conservatory – which overlooks the swimming pool – have been designed in collaboration with JJ Martin, bringing to life ‘La DoubleJ by the pool’, the first interior design project of the eclectic Milanese feel. The umbrellas with a vintage allure surprise with floral prints inside and the pillows covered with a fish pattern – inspired by the Passalacqua emblem and designed especially for this project – mix with steering wheel seats and create a space that surprises at every glance.

The solarium then extends into the rose garden, where dozens of different qualities of David Austin roses and climbing roses enclose their fragrance and their colors. Next door, a meditative and almost mysterious space, in the center of five hundred years of magnolias, offers the perfect place for yoga, accessible every morning. Guests can also collect fresh eggs from the hen house, first fruits in the orchard and play bowls in the field surrounded by the kitchen garden. Or be accompanied to discover the surroundings of the villa by the young Hotel Manager, who will lead them to discover the paths of the forest that surrounds Moltrasio and leads to waterfalls and natural pools.

For the more sporty, the fitness center immersed in the olive grove will be a real pleasure to train under the branches of the hundred-year-old olive trees that are mowed every fall to produce Passalacqua oil. There is also a clay tennis court with panoramic lake views and an outdoor cinema.
Guests can then sail from the private quay to discover the lake and its most fascinating corners aboard two unique boats – Giumello, a time-typical piece of mahogany that has always served as the lake’s family boat, and Didi, an elegant motorboat. with solarium renewed to Passalacqua with fabrics by Loro Piana.

A home kitchen

The culinary proposal is authentic ‘at home’, inspired by the simplest Italian traditions, with fresh ingredients “from the garden to the table”. Executive Chef Mauro Verza is truly a “home cook”, with 25 years spent serving some of the most prestigious families in Milan. Guests are invited to visit the kitchens and chat with him or take part in fun cooking classes to learn the techniques and secrets of the most delicious fresh ravioli, the perfect pizza dough or freshly made ice cream. The choice of eatery is then the final touch that makes each meal unique in Passalacqua: whether it is under the frescoes of one of the historic halls, under the striped awnings on the panoramic terrace, under the umbrella plates in the bar area or in the intimacy of the Italian garden or rose garden, the Passalacqua team will be available to create an unforgettable experience.

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