A dream Lake Wedding in Northern Italy
The most spectacular villas and luxury hotels
From fashionable Lake Como and tranquil Lake Garda to little Lake Orta
by Silvia Bortolotto
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Couples from the world over choose the calm, surreal and utterly magical atmosphere of northern Italy’s Italian Lakes to celebrate a dream lake wedding. Hemmed in by the snow-capped Alps, the lakes feature soft, wispy brushstrokes in soft hues, with ripples of light reflecting off the water.
From fashionable Lake Como to the shores of tranquil Lake Garda and little Lake Orta, the Italian Lakes area is peppered with imposing aristocratic villas adorned with frescoes and luxurious gardens, some of which have been converted into luxury hotels.
We have rounded up the most romantic swoon-worthy lakefront villas with heart-stopping views of turquoise lake waters. Couples can celebrate Catholic ceremonies in quaint village churches, while lakefront terraces with floral arches provide a stunning setting for civil and symbolic weddings. The bride and groom can even zip across the lake on a vintage speedboat to reach their preferred venue. There’s no better way to experience la dolce vita!
Mandarin Oriental, Lago di Como Via E. Caronti, 69 - Blevio
Surrounded by lush, botanical gardens on the eastern shore of Lake Como, this luxury hotel exudes a calm and sophisticated atmosphere. The villa combines discreet elegance, Italian flair, international savoir faire, oriental charm, and a heavy dose of natural beauty. Mandarin Oriental, Lago di Como is the perfect wedding venue for couples looking to celebrate in style while enjoying luxurious comfort. The hotel’s 21 rooms, 52 suites and two private villas can accommodate approximately 200 guests, making this the perfect venue for both small and large weddings.
Villa Balbiano Piazza Cardinal Durini - Ossuccio
Located on the western shore of the lake, the 16th century Villa Balbiano is among the area’s most photographed villas. Over the centuries, it has hosted countless glamorous parties, wild balls and sumptuous feasts. Adorned with frescoes and wonderful objets d’art, the villa houses opulent suites and is home to extensive landscaped grounds complete with swimming pool, private pier and dock. The villa is the largest private residence on the lake, perfect to host glamorous weddings with a sizeable guest list. Marquees can be erected in the garden.
Villa Pliniana Via Cesare Poggi, 29 - Torno
Built in the 16th century, Villa Pliniana is named after a nearby natural spring. This exclusive villa nestled in lush greenery is set in a rocky inlet of Lake Como. The villa was once a stop on the Grand Tour, accommodating all manner of eminent writers, musicians and members of the aristocracy, including English Romantic poet Percy Shelley and Margherita of Savoy, Queen consort of the Kingdom of Italy. Housing a spa, a range of opulent ballrooms and 17 suites accommodating up to 36 people, the villa has a private helipad and wonderful gardens. The venue’s private, secluded location make it perfect to host lively celebrations until the early hours.
Villa Sola Cabiati Via Statale, 36 - Tremezzo
A stone’s throw away from the Grand Hotel Tremezzo, Villa Sola Cabiati is a Renaissance villa that became the summer residence of the Serbelloni Dukes in the 1700s. It’s one of the lake’s most wonderful villas, with opulently decorated halls, priceless tapestries and ceramics, sophisticated stucco work, Italian-style gardens with arabesque accents, and a ‘secret’ swimming pool. Combining modern furnishings with period luxury, the villa’s spacious suites accommodating up to twelve people are the ultimate in contemporary comfort.
Villa del Balbianello Via Guido Monzino, 1 - Tremezzina
Elegant, intimate and romantic, Villa del Balbianello is one of Italy’s most striking villas, reached almost exclusively by boat. The perfect spot to celebrate small and medium-sized weddings, the Villa was built in the 18th century on a promontory that juts out into the lake. The impeccably manicured gardens, complete with arched portico, offer sweeping views, and have featured in several Hollywood movies, including Star Wars and Casino Royale.
Villa Erba Largo L. Visconti, 4 - Cernobbio
The Villa Erba complex on Lake Como comprises a conference center, gallop track, centuries-old park and an ancient villa that was once the private residence of several aristocratic families, including the Visconti. Hosting events and weddings, this exclusive 19th century historic residence features opulent halls that can accommodate between 80 and 500 people. The centerpiece of the villa is the spectacular, luminous atrium with an imposing staircase. The lakefront is a marvelous spot to hold symbolic ceremonies.
Villa Pizzo Via Regina, 48 - Cernobbio
The rose-colored Villa Pizzo is a 17th century private residence that stands majestically on the promontory of the Gulf of Cernobbio. Surrounded by vast gardens sitting on layers of terraces, the villa features sober, feminine interior décor. The expansive 19th century ancient stone dock with statues is a striking spot to host wedding ceremonies and receptions to the sound of the waves gently lapping against the shore. A magical place to celebrate one’s special day.
Isola del Garda Via Fornella, 1 - San Felice d/B
A place of incomparable beauty, this strip of land in the middle of the lake is known as Isola del Garda. Only reachable by boat, the Villa has welcomed eminent guests over the centuries, from Saint Francis to Italian poet and writer Dante Alighieri. It was also a pirate hideout and later a monastery. Dominated by a grand Venetian neo-Gothic villa, the island offers a fairytale setting for wedding ceremonies and receptions, with wonderful lake views. Among the venue spaces are a loggia, green house, dock, Italian gardens and stone walls.
Villa Bettoni Via della Libertà, 77 - Gargnano
Villa Bettoni is a stunning 17th century villa that was subsequently enlarged by designers Adriano Cristofoli and Antonio Marchetti. Located on the shores of Lake Garda, it is surrounded by a lush Italian garden that is a stunning expression of architecture. The villa’s main staircase is embellished with Locatelli statues, while a large, frescoed hall spanning three floors in height. As well as a private art gallery, there are other tastefully decorated venue spaces in pastel hues that are perfect to host a dream wedding.
Villa Crespi Via Fava, 18 - Orta San Giulio
Beautiful Villa Crespi on the shores of little Lake Orta is a 19th century Moorish villa commissioned by Cristoforo Benigno Crespi. With its domes, intertwined arches, rich golden ornaments, marble columns, Florentine mosaic floor and spectacular starry sky ceiling, it exudes an Arabian, fairytale atmosphere. Cinzia and her husband Antonino Cannavacciuolo, who is one of Italy’s most celebrated chefs, have lovingly run the Relais et Châteaux villa since 1999.