The James Bond Trail: Villa del Balbianello

We are on the James Bond trail.

First we visited The Schilthorn in the Swiss Alps from Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

Next it was James Bond Island in Thailand from The Man with The Golden Gun.

Now its Villa del Balbianello in Lake Como from Casino Royale.

We took a little boat cruise with Bellagio Water Taxi.  Janine and Luca, who ran the operation, provide a really delightful experience.

Luca driving the beautiful boat on Lake Como

Luca grew up in Lake Como so added a lot of local flavor as he drove us past the majestic coast line.

Villa Carlotta and its magnificent gardens

Public park, not bad.

Town of Mezzegra where Mussolini was killed trying to escape across the Swiss border with his mistress

False George Clooney house. Thought the sign was funny that read “No George” with an arrow pointing South.

Approaching the peninsula of Villa del Balbianello

Gorgeous property of Villa del Balbianello

We hopped off the boat and were met with a great tour guide.     The Villa had many owners in its history including a monastery, then a cardinal, two Italians, an American, and then its last owner, explorer Guido Monzino.

When Monzino died, he left it to the FAI, the National Trust of Italy so that we could all enjoy it.    You can even rent the space out for a private event, as the funds help to maintain the estate.

The grounds, set for a wedding that evening

The room of the villa were left, still set just as if Monzino lived there.     We couldn’t take pictures but I found this photo online to show you our favorite room.  We entitled it, The Ultimate Man Room.    It was a collection of Monzino’s explorations.   It contained his snow suit from the climb of Mt Everest (he ultimately didn’t make it but sent his guides on who brought back rocks still displayed in the house), his sled from exploring the North Pole, and numerous amazing artifacts.

Image courtesy of FAI.

We learned that in addition to James Bond, the villa was also used in the Star Wars movie as well as a few others. You’ll have to check them out below.

*On a side note, back in my early twenties, my friend K and I also hit a James Bond Casino Royale site in The One & Only Club in the Bahamas.  The movie hadn’t come out yet, but I immediately recognized the hammocks when they appeared on screen and were found to contain James Bond’s murdered fling.  We had leisurely hung out in them one of our afternoons.

Related Links:

Schwingen in Switzerland:  Why You’ve Heard of Lake Como

You Tube scene of Villa del Balbianello in Star Wars 2:

YouTube scene of Villa del Balbianello in Casino Royale :


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