BELLAGIO, Presentation

Audio File length: 2.44
English / USA Language: English / USA

Hi, I am Marcy, your personal guide, and together with MyWoWo I’d like to welcome you to one of the wonders of the world: Bellagio.

Bellagio is one of the most internationally renowned tourist resorts, nicknamed 'the pearl of the lake'. But what makes it so special?

First of all, its strategic location was perfect in the past to control a large part of the lake, which, as you know, is shaped like an inverted Y. The promontory on which Bellagio stands, culminating in Punta Frangivento, is the exact point of separation of the Como and Lecco branches.

As you can imagine, the charm of these places has attracted wealthy people in every era, but the real boom as a resort came between the late-18th and 19th centuries, when splendid villas such as Villa Melzi and the first luxury hotels began to appear.

To discover the true charm of Bellagio, you must explore its historical center, known as the Borgo, walk along its small streets, such as the Salita Serbelloni, and enter the square with the ancient Church of San Giacomo, built between 1100 and 1200 in Romanesque style.

If you visit Bellagio between March and November, I recommend you book a guided tour of the Villa Serbelloni Park, which is not accessible otherwise.

Just imagine, on the promontory where this villa stands, there was already a castle in 475 A.D., remodeled through the centuries and under different dominions, and finally demolished in 1375. Then, around 1500, Marquis Stanga had a residence built there, which was replaced forty years later by that of General Ercole Sfondrati. In 1788 the property passed to Count Alessandro Serbelloni who, it is said, spent a great fortune to create the splendid park with paths and avenues that wind for a total of 18 kilometers.

After being converted into a hotel for a few decades in the late-19th and early-20th century, the villa was bought in 1928 by a wealthy American woman, Helena Holbrook Walker, who died there in 1959, bequeathing it to the Rockefeller Foundation, which still manages it today.


Here’s an interest fact: You should know that Helena Walker, a descendant of a very wealthy family that owned a major whiskey distillery in Ontario, moved here when she married her third husband, the Italian prince Alessandro di Torre e Tasso.

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