Villa Peduzzi is an architecturally designed villa that’s been renovated to a luxurious standard and boasts unforgettable views of Lake Como.
Lake Como is the perfect place for just relaxing and enjoying life.
What is the story behind Casa Brienno, what was your inspiration to create it?
We lived in Italy for eight years and our children grew up there. When we returned to Belgium, we wanted to leave some roots in Italy so our children could come back and visit their friends. We wanted to find somewhere near Lake Como that we could block out for several weeks of the year to use ourselves and rent for the rest of the time.
Unlike in Belgium where there are websites listing all of the real estate properties for sale, in Italy there are lots of small agencies and people selling directly. So we researched by driving around and writing down the numbers for properties we saw for sale.
But this property came through word-of-mouth. I had just completed working as an interior architect at a store and told my colleagues that I was looking for a small place. One of my friends who knew my style told me about a house that she was considering buying and how it was perfect for me. She made an appointment for us with the real estate agent and we bought it that day. We first opened to guests in May 2013.
How would you describe the atmosphere and interior design of Casa Brienno?
The house is very old and we bought it from an Italian guy who grew up here and had completely renovated it. He was a professional restorer of wooden furnishings and buildings, so we didn’t have to do a lot of work or break any walls down. We added new flooring and the roof terrace, as well as separating one of the bathrooms into two.
During his restorations, the former owner found Roman plates under the house, which he had plastered in a corner of one of the rooms. He retained the old beams in the living room and the wooden floor upstairs, as well as adding a lot of beautiful old doors with sliding latches.
The interior design features a lot of white, wooden details and modern furnishings — I would describe it as cosy and warm.
Brienno only has one street that cars can drive along. The rest of the village is pedestrian-only, with lots of stairs that take you up, down and under the houses.
After entering through the front door, you arrive in the living room, which has a large sitting area, a dining room and a long kitchen. Also on the ground floor is a bathroom and a laundry, which leads down to the lake. Here there is an outdoor sitting area that is not exclusively for our use but guests are welcome to take our folding sun beds and table down there during the day.
As you go up the stairs from the ground level, there is a small storage area on the right-hand side and three double bedrooms at the top, plus a separate wardrobe space. Stairs lead from here to the roof terrace where there are two loungers, a round dining table that can seat six and a small outdoor kitchen. As the village has grown into one labyrinth, the roof terrace is actually part of the mayor’s house next door!
Next to the stairs leading up to the roof terrace are stairs that go down to the bathrooms, one of which has a bath, a toilet and a sink while the other has a sink and a shower.
Ground floor • Fully equipped kitchen • Living room with fireplace • Dining table • Laundry room
First floor • Master bedroom with balcony overlooking the lake • 2 double bedrooms • 2 bathrooms (1 with a bathtub and 1 with a shower) • Access to the roof terrace
Outside • There is a concrete terrace and pier a few steps from the house (the house is in the second row) with a table, 4 chairs and 2 loungers you can take with you from the house.
Included in the rates is the final cleaning, plus all bed linen and towels. In addition to basics like coffee, salt and pepper, we provide a bottle of local olive oil, tomato passata and pasta so that guests can make an easy meal if they want.
We work together with Lake Como Tourism who provide a range of services on request. So guests can ask for almost anything, including private chefs, and they will organise it.
I would recommend walking along the Greenway del Lago, which is around 10 kilometres and passes through a lot of villages. You should also definitely hire a boat and visit Varenna, Bellagio and Torno. Como has a lot of small, cute stores for shopping or you can go to the FoxTown outlet stores just across the border in Switzerland where you’ll find Dior, Gucci and Dolce & Gabbana.
Villa del Balbianello is also worth a visit, with a tropical garden that provided a setting for a scene from “Casino Royale”. It’s easy to visit Verona or Torino as a day trip and there is a ski resort around 1.5 hours away.
Lake Como is also the perfect place for just relaxing and enjoying life. Unlike Lake Garda, it hasn’t been overwhelmed by tourists and still feels very Italian.
Casa Brienno is located in Brienno, which is a very small village with roughly 400 inhabitants. Como is 15 minutes’ drive from the village while Argegno is just two minutes away. Here you will find boat rentals and a square filled with restaurants. On the way to Como is Cernobbio, which has a lot of nice shops.
In Brienno, you can really feel the atmosphere of the lake and the beauty of nature but you aren’t in a touristy area. If you do want to be amongst people and experience a different vibe, you can easily do that.
There are some very good restaurants in the neighbourhood, including a traditional pizzeria that people come from far away to dine at. In the morning, a van comes selling cheese, bread, milk and eggs and there’s also a small market and a fishmonger passing through once a week. In the summertime, there is a bar set up at one end of the village where you can rent a sun bed for the day and they serve light meals, salads and pizzas.
In Argegno are some very good restaurants that are popular with tourists, with many people choosing to arrive by boat. Cernobbio also has some high-end restaurants that have been made famous by celebrity diners. Particularly magical is La Terrazza, which is located high up on the hill and offers views of the lights surrounding the lake - it’s like a fairytale.
Our favourite restaurants:
Within a 2 minutes drive you can find a couple of nice bars and the delicious gelateria Zoe on the central square of Argegno.
We like to visit all year round. But I particularly love spring at the end of March/beginning of April when the temperatures are comfortable and the sun is giving you energy. May and June are also very nice, as are September and October and, of course, July and August. We usually visit at the end of October/early November and during the first few days, we are still eating outdoors. But by the middle of the week, it starts raining, signalling that summer is over.
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