Owners, history, exterior & interior design
In 1787, Balbiano was acquired by the Cardinal Angelo Maria Durini, art patron and collector. His circle of friends included notable intellectuals in Milan at the time, such as the poet Giuseppe Parini, a leading figure in Italian Neoclassicism, who was often a guest at Balbiano. Durini purchased a number of neighboring properties, commissioned new frescoes, and ordered the construction of a small church, a tower, and a lighthouse to guide the boats (the lighthouse collapsed in the nineteenth century). In a panoramic position atop a promontory to the east, he built a double pavilion. He dubbed the new estate Balbianino in honor of Balbiano, although today it is better known as Balbianello and is an Italian National Trust (FAI) site and another famous wedding venue.
After several changes of ownership, in 1872 the villa was purchased by an industrialist in textiles, Gustave Salomon Gessner, who expanded the buildings and installed a spinning mill.
In 1960, the villa changed hands once again: the new owner was a German engineer, Hermann Hartlaub. He was the one to initiate the first restoration work.
In 1982, Balbiano was bought by Michele Canepa, an elegant silk industrialist in the silk business, whose family has been in the business for generations, and who produces fabric for haute couture houses such as Oscar de la Renta, Chanel, and Lanvin. He beautified the gardens with new species of trees and flowers, some of which are quite rare. He also modernized the interior, leaving the original trompe l’oeil and pictorial sequences painted by the Recchi brothers in 1630, but adding abstract German paintings from the 1950s, 60s, and 70s. There are modern fabrics that come from Canepa’s factory and a magnificent ball gown mounted on the wall, made by his wife in the 80s for a museum competition with a Fortuny theme.
After 2011, Villa Balbiano became the ownership of The Heritage Collection. The modernization of the Villa was entrusted to the French interior architect Jacques Garcia, with Carlota Proença da Almeida handling structural design and restoration work. Restoration work was undertaken on the first floor to restore the historical decorations. An indoor pool was installed in what used to be a garden shed, and another pool was installed outside. The garden was also restored under the supervision of Colson Stone landscape architects of Somerset, England.
Getting to Villa Balbiano
You can reach Villa II Balbiano by boat, but if you drive along Via Regina, the narrow lakeshore road, you enter through an ancient walled garden with bursting roses, jasmine, hydrangeas, and calycanthus plants. There is a row of tall, regal cypress trees leading to the stone doors of the house.
Cuisine & catering
In the dining room, which still has the original 18th-century frescoes and a heavy Venetian crystal chandelier you can have your pre-wedding celebration, your wedding cocktail, your wedding reception, your post-wedding activities, your daily breakfast, all catered by distinguished, Michelin-starred chefs and bakers.
Villa Balbiano offers accommodation in its six luxury suites in the main palace, which have been furnished with the exclusive collection of antique furniture and objects of decorative arts. Four additional bedrooms in the left wing and five bedrooms in the adjacent Villino are also available. It can host up to 28 guests.
For our esteemed guests we can organize concierge services, daily change of towels and linen, extra heating, air conditioning, cooking services, waiters, porter services (upon arrival, stay, and departure), daily maid services, and night security. Personal aviation and driver services can also be arranged.
Villa Babiano is available for event rentals or family stay all year round.
Can we have our ceremony in Villa Balbiano? If so which ceremonies are allowed?
Absolutely yes! Civil, Protestant, Symbolic, Other non-catholic ceremonies can be performed on Villa Balbiano.
Music & entertainment
Entertainment, dancing and live music are allowed until 23.00p.m on Villa Balbiano. Should you require an extension, a special permission can be granted until 00.00a.m with an added rate.
Famous guests & wedded couples
Villa Balbiano weddings have always made the top of the A-list on Vogue Magazine, Harper’s Bazaar and Brides Magazine among other esteemed press. John Legend has performed in Villa Balbiano to the the Bollywood rehearsal dinner of Isha Ambani, the daughter of India’s tycoon, Mukesh Amabni. Kristen Raines & Zack Christopher, Margarita Annabe & Ilya Goncharov, Gylfi Sigurdsson & Alexandra Ivarsdottir also tied the knot on this gorgeous villa while Sting, Stephen Ridley, Robert Davi and Ceelo Green have performed in its premises for lucky brides and grooms.