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Lake Como weddings venues
Villa Gastel

Villa Gastel is the secret treasure trove of Villa d’ Este, sitting within its own private gardens.

Address: Largo Lucino Visconti, 8, 22012, Cernobbio (CO)

Owners, history, exterior & interior design

The immense villa was a Benedictine convent, dating back to the 12th century, before it became the property of one of northern Italy’s most important families, the Visconti di Modrone. “It has historically been a house of great art and elegance, but also of parents and children—the country life of a big family,” says the present chatelaine, Anna Gastel, who is the niece of the director. “Uncle Luchino grew up here and always adored the place. He enjoyed the huge dinner tables of us nieces and nephews, and sometimes put private family jokes into his movies, just to make us laugh.”

Villa Gastel has remained rigorously private and makes an exquisite venue for private receptions and welcome cocktail parties . In addition to the graceful yellow stucco main building, there are staff quarters, stables, two guesthouses—one designed to look as if it were built inside of a tree—a rustic amphitheater, and a 66-foot swimming pool. Gastel cautions that any events or tenants would have to be carefully vetted.

The ground-floor enfilade of formal salons is decorated with neoclassical trompe l’oeil frescoes, ancestral portraits and statues, tapestries, and antiques. One of the highlights is a white Venetian neo-Gothic dining suite, presented by Luchino Visconti to his sister. Still more fascinating are the huge vaulted kitchen and laundry rooms, nearly unchanged since the days of the convent, where walls of cupboards hold exquisitely arranged bed and table linens, as well as dozens of colorful breakfast services kept under protective cloths.

Upstairs, a labyrinth of corridors leads to country-house bedrooms beautifully decorated by Gastel. Particularly appealing is a wing of small rooms that until 1940 housed a community of nuns from the original convent. Ensconced in the life of the villa, they kept their own rule and ran a needlework and embroidery school for nearby village girls founded by Carla Erba. Their patterns were designed by important architects like Gio Ponti and Emilio Lancia.

Getting to Villa Gastel

Access to Villa Gastel can be possible by car or private boat. The neighboring Villa Erba has a private dock for mooring motorboats, yachts and boats for up to 600 spaces, a helipad and a parking space.

Cuisine & catering

Michelin-starred chefs, local bakers and chefs patissier can prepare state-of-the-art menus and sweets for your pre-wedding, reception and post-wedding banquet dinners.

Accomodation

4 apartments (20 guests max) with private entrance + 1 apartment (5 guests max) with private entrance and pool.

Services

For our esteemed guests, we can organize concierge services, aviation, transportation, extra heating, air conditioning, cooking services, waiters, porter services, muah artists and security.

Rental period

All-year-round.

Ceremonies & events

Symbolic wedding ceremonies, cocktail parties and private dinners can take place at Villa Gastel.

Famed owners & guests of Villa Gastel

During the second part of the 20th century, the legendary director Luchino Visconti hosted Maria Callas, Helmut Berger, and Coco Chanel, among many others, at Villa Gastel.

Fashion, like art, runs in the  Gastel family: The fashion photographer Giovanni Gastel, Anna Gastel’s brother, also spent summers in the villa. Guido apprenticed with his uncle and has since racked up campaigns for Bulgari and Fratelli Rossetti. (He has also modeled, appearing in Italian Vogue and in ads for Tod’s.)