A Visit to Magnolia Villa
Getting to Magnolia Villa is an adventure. You follow a busy road that runs along the side of Lake Como, and it narrows dramatically before you reach the house. That makes what happens when you arrive all the more surprising and delightful. As the door opens, you are suddenly in another world – one that leads directly out onto the lake, with amazing views of the water and surrounding mountains.
Magnolia Villa is located in Tremezzina, right across from Isola Comacina, the only island on Lake Como, which sits like a verdant cloud in the water. In 1939, the architect Pietro Lingeri had plans to turn the island into an artist colony and built three striking Rationalist houses which remain there to this day, along with the Church of San Giovanni, archeological remains, and wooded parkland. It’s close enough to swim to if you’re feeling bold, but there are also little boats that take you across.
Meeting Simona, the owner of Magnolia Villa, was a real pleasure. When we arrived for an afternoon visit, she greeted us with a cake that was sitting on the stone table under the pergola by the lake, which is one of the most magical and peaceful spots I have ever visited.
The house has been in Simona's family for years, and she spent much time there as a child. She’s often there today, occupying one floor of the house, so she knows the home and locality intimately. In fact, she has just purchased a cool retro pedalo, which will be available to guests if they want to pedal out to Isola Comacina. No captain needed.
The house itself is a traditional family holiday home with all that is needed for a comfortable stay, but no frills. It has three bedrooms plus a quirky kitchen that sits inside a stone cave completely separate from the rest of the rooms.
Simona invited us to have lunch with her, making antipasto using Parmesan cheese which she purchased from a dairy shop in the mountains near Parma, along with coppa (or cold cut) and smashed chickpeas with basil, olive oil and lemon zest. She followed this with a carbonara made with thinly-sliced yellow courgette pan-fried with olive oil, and guanciale, a type of Italian cured meat, instead of bacon. It was delicious.
Magnolia Villa is in an enviable location, a truly magical lakeside spot. It’s also very close to Lenno, which was possibly my favorite stop on our tour of the lake in October. It's worth visiting to explore the overgrown terraced gardens of Villa del Balbianello with their breathtaking views across Lake Como.
To book a stay at Magnolia Villa, start here.