Villa Carlotta is one of the most beautiful stately homes on Lake Como and it’s also one of the most-visited.
Although the house dates back to 1690, the name ‘Carlotta’ comes from more recent times. She was the daughter of Princess Marianne of the Netherlands who gave her the house as a wedding present. Sadly she was to get very little use out of it before her death in 1855 at the age of only 23. Her husband though, Georg of Sachsen-Meiningen, set about transforming the gardens to be the botanical exhibit you see today. Villa Carlotta is one of the few villas on Lake Como where you can see inside the house as well as the gardens. Some rooms are laid out as the would have been in Carlotta’s time, others are used as exhibition space. The views over the lake from the upstairs windows are superb!
Although the house is attractive and inside is interesting to walk around, Villa Carlotta is best known for its gardens. After buying your ticket, you approach the house from the edge of the road where there is a beautiful terrace layout leading up to the main entrance. Surrounding the villa on all the other sides are 8 hectares of gardens, split into different areas for different types of plants and flowers. There’s a rock garden, a valley of ferns, a Rhododendron wood, a bamboo garden and impressive collections of Azaleas and Camellias. Also in the grounds is a mini-museum of agricultural tools. You really can spend a long time in this garden and if you’re not sure what you’re looking at, most things are labelled. It’s a gardeners paradise!
Villa Carlotta is open from March to November each year. At the beginning and end of the season, opening times are from 10am to 6pm, but through the main part of the season you’ll find it open from 9am to 7.30pm. Adult admission is 9 Euros (2015 prices). Most people come to Villa Carlotta and then leave again, but we’d urge you not to miss the pretty town in the which the villa is located, Tremezzo. The lakeside here has been renovated to create a lovely walkway to enjoy the views. Also, you’ll find a collection of small shops and cafes, with attractive stepped alleyways in between.
Walk a little further and you’ll arrive at Tremezzo Public Gardens. This is a formally laid out Italian garden on the lake side, with an impressive water feature, mature trees, lawns and a grand stairway to a bridge across the road. There are plenty of seating areas to enjoy the incredible lake views and a small cafe at one end too. These gardens reminded us of nearby Villa del Balbianello, although not quite so well maintained!
Just the other side of the public gardens is a small harbour and across the road the attractive San Lorenzo Church with it’s large bell-tower. Walking from Villa Carlotta to Chiesa di San Lorenzo takes around 15 minutes.
LOCATION & MAP
Address: Villa Carlotta, Via Regina, Tremezzina, Lake Como, Italy
Tel: +39 0344 40405
MORE ON VILLA CARLOTTA & TREMEZZO
Villa Carlotta – Official website
Tremezzo – Wikipedia
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