What a beautiful setting! Villa Laveno sits right on the waterfront along the southeasternmost shore of Lago Maggiore. It has its own private beach, plus its own private swimming pool. Laveno, the nearest town – and boat launch – is about 15 minutes’ easy walking distance, and offers all services and amenities. The location is quiet and enjoys lovely views over the lake out to the Italian and Swiss Alps whose peaks are covered with snow even in summertime. Daytrips from here include all the sights of Lake Maggiore – Stresa, the Villa Taranto gardens, and the Borromean Islands above all – and Lakes Como and Orta are within easy reach as well, not to mention Milan itself, world-famous for the Last Supper and every shopping indulgence imaginable. All sorts of water sports are possible, as well as hang-gliding and delta-flying, not to mention cycling and nearby horseback riding. Finally, the villa is within walking distance of the gondola which takes you to the top of the hill against which the village of Laveno is built.
One detail of great importance: Both the owner of the villa, if he’s around, and the charming English-speaking caretaker, a young man who has spent much time traveling the world, and whose grandparents were the estate’s caretakers before him, are invaluable. Here once again, it is the presence of such persons on or near a property which, far from being “negatives”, can transform your stay from an enjoyable but routine experience into something truly memorable. This is particularly true of villas in the Italian lake district, where it is not always apparent how and where to do certain things. We cannot say it often enough: such persons are almost never invasive. They are precious resources which ought to be sought out. On the simplest level, their presence may mean that instead of being ripped off in a restaurant designed to victimize folks like you, you may be directed to a local trattoria with authentic, reasonably priced specialities.
Villa Laveno was built in about 1930 for a prominent Milanese family. It is spacious and full of a certain atmosphere. Decor is Italian “Classic”, with marble tables and patterned wallpapers. Much of the furniture was designed and made for the villa. Today, some might call it kitsch. But when we personally visited the property recently, we’ve got to say: it just doesn’t matter: the views and the setting trump – indeed overwhelm – any questions of taste. Almost all rooms overlook the lake, and the ground-floor rooms have direct access to the estate’s gardens and terraces.
From the garden, a rather steep path of 150 steps, awkward for anyone with any sort of mobility issue, leads down to the lake and pebble beach. Closer to the villa itself is the 6- by 14-meter swimming pool with diving board and shower.
The size (about 500 square meters) and layout of the Villa Laveno are particularly well-suited to two families traveling together.