On the shores of Lake Garda, the Venetian`s “little sea”, in northern Lombardy, Italy, among fruit trees, magnolias and cypresses rises the very charming and peaceful Villa Feltrinelli, a 19th century mansion, which in 2001 opened its doors as the Grand Hotel Villa Feltrinelli, with an exclusive service limited to just 42 guests.
The sun and the breeze come together at the villa to bring an ideal climate and the idyllic views come down from the hills to dive into a thousand shades of blue that make up the lake. A marble staircase, grand balconies and Italian gardens frame this summer palace that invites relaxation and contemplation.
The Gothic Revival building proudly displays the grace and distinction of a golden age, when it was the summer residence of the wealthy Feltrinelli clan. As you enter through the main door, you’ll find yourself amidst a hall of Venetian mirrors reflecting the waters of the lake, which seem to multiply and invade every corner of the decor. However, it is on the ceiling where you will find the real treasures: the frescoes painted by the Lieti brothers.
Myriad paths cross the landscape adorned by the typical Mediterranean vegetation while a vintage store near the pool offers a variety of homemade ice cream to the delight of visitors.
The personalized care offered by the hotel is evident in its cuisine, which is adapted to the schedules and preferences of each guest with the possibility of eating in a restaurant with classic and elegant design or under the pergola beside the lake. The organic products from around the village become dishes of sublime flavors in the hands of Chef Alejandro Baiocco, who has managed to earn and preserve a Michelin star since 2008.
His pasta, gnocchi and risotto renew the style of northern Italy in a more sophisticated version but keeping the spirit of the culinary traditions of the region. To complete the delicate gastronomy, local cheeses, wines, balsamic oils and vegetables from exclusive suppliers make each dish a unique creation.
The spectacular basement houses a selection of premium wines that are kept in an atmosphere of intimacy and sophistication where wood and burgundy predominate. Every wine tasting in this cellar becomes a memorable occasion.
Walking through the national park surrounding the villa, playing croquet in a pleasant green, swimming in the pool or in the ever-calm waters of the lake, or simply sitting under the sun in the gardens, generates a feeling of true harmony. But the charms of this palace also extend to its surroundings, either a visit to the nearby Gargnano—a village that according to English novelist and poet D.H. Lawrence, is “one of the most beautiful places on earth”—or a stroll through the mountains, which allow you to discover, along the way, ancient monuments and the beauty of nature.
There are still a few almost secret places in northern Italy; Villa Feltrinelli is one of them. This elegant mansion is the perfect place to experience luxury and exclusivity. ■