Villa d’Este had always been on a wish list of places to travel to, but with the intense schedule of fashion shows and visiting friends in various cities around the world, this dream destination had been pushed back to when life was running at a slower pace and I could travel without an agenda. For ten years, every holiday I seemed to go on was peppered with client meetings and dinners with friends – not exactly a negative, but it was hard to find the time to just ‘be’.
Finally, with the slower pace I had been working towards in place, I could book Villa d'Este knowing there would be no interruptions of work. There could have been no better place to do precisely nothing. We spent our time wandering through the exquisitely manicured gardens, dining on perfectly presented pasta (brunch, lunch and dinner!) and drinking fine Italian wine. The lakeside views and friendly atmosphere on the iconic terrace has made it our favourite place to spend hours just sitting in the Italian sun, slowly taking in the beauty of Lake Como.
We have stayed twice at this imposing 16th century Tivoli palace. Once with a view facing the lake, and our second time in a room with a grand view over the stunning sloped gardens. Both spaces were equally beautiful, but watching the sun rise over the mountains with a direct view of Lake Como is a sight almost impossible to describe. If staying here for the first time, I would recommend a lake facing room to experience the sunrise and perfectly calm water of the lake in the morning.
Even above the lake and grand interior, the place I find myself wanting to return to most is the beautiful, vast and peaceful garden. Even if you know nothing about landscape gardening, you cannot fail to be impressed by the dedication and detail of the design. I spent most afternoons here, walking up through the various layers of the land, alone with my thoughts while my husband people watched on the terrace with another bottle of Italian white.
There is so much to be said for Villa d’Este, from the exquisite architecture, lakeside views, warmth of the staff and unique floating pool at the edge of the lake. A dream place for those wishing to switch off and be surrounded by the finest (of absolutely everything) Italy has to offer.