Andrea Grisdale spent her formative years in England’s gorgeous Lake District, before embarking on a career in the travel industry in the 1990s. After traveling the four corners of the world as an overseas representative for a British tour operator, she ended up in Northern Italy as a guide and tour manager in the Dolomites and Lake Como. Just before the start of the new millennium, Andrea decided to strike out on her own and form IC Bellagio, a travel company providing Italian experiences for high-end travelers ranging from villa rentals and exclusive guided tours to luxury hotels and wedding & event planning. Since its founding, IC Bellagio has gone from strength to strength, winning coveted awards from such prestigious organizations as Conde Nast, Travel + Leisure, Virtuoso and Luxury Travel Advisors for several years running. Always conscious of giving something back, IC Bellagio offers student internships and work experience opportunities as well as supporting a wide range of social programs and charities. Andrea is a very vocal advocate of the travel industry, inspiring students at colleges and universities to follow in her footsteps with her many speaking engagements. She is also very conscious of the role inspiration plays for her staff as well, encouraging ICB staff to travel abroad and offering exciting career development opportunities. Andrea’s vision for IC Bellagio is to remain a small boutique destination specialist that is not only the best company to travel with, but the best company to work for, too.
Samantha was born in the mountain village of Morbegno forty-odd years ago (a gentleman never asks!!) and spent her formative years in the lakeside town of Cernobbio. Growing up in the shadows of what is arguably one of the world’s foremost resorts – Villa d’Este – may have played a part in her dreams of one day working in the hotel business. Her mother, a veteran of the service industry and manager of various cafés and restaurants on Lake Como, was also a major role model for the young Samantha and encouraged her to seek a degree in tourism from Como’s respected Istituto Pascoli. Since that time, Samantha has worked in a variety of hotels in and around Como, most recently as the manager of a four-star property near her hometown.
Being the mother of a 16-year-old son, Samantha is keenly aware of the sacrifices required of any hotelier, but she wouldn’t even think of trading her vocation. “Working in the hotel business is very challenging,” she says. “I am convinced that if you put your heart into the job – especially as the key contact for our guests – there is nothing more rewarding!” Samantha’s local knowledge, hotel industry expertise and engaging personality make her a perfect fit for the Palazzo and we can’t wait for you to meet her in person.
Francesca Rambaldi Guest Relation Assistant
Francesca Rambaldi is the newest member of the Palazzo del Vice Re team. A native of Oliveto Lario on the Lecco branch of the lake, this fresh-faced 30-something studied languages at the Istituto Bertacchi in Lecco and tourism at Como’s Università degli Studi dell’Insubria. For the past nine years, Francesca has been sailing the seven seas with two international cruise lines, both as a shore excursion tour escort and the Cruise Staff Manager of the Entertainment department. Her flair for languages and strong customer service credentials make her the perfect fit for the role of Guest Relations Assistant – we can’t wait for you to meet her!
Giovanna Pezzatti House keeper
Giovanna Pezzatti, a native of nearby Bellagio, is the heart and soul of the Palazzo’s housekeeping operations – our resident “Mamma”, if you will! Thanks to Giovanna, the Palazzo’s guestrooms and public areas are always spotless and the breakfast table is always teeming with beautifully presented delicacies. Her caring nature and can-do attitude help make the Palazzo a real home away from home for our guests. In her spare time, you can find Giovanna cooking up a feast for friends and family – like her world-famous gnocchi – or tending to the flowers in her gorgeous garden – which can often be found on display in the Palazzo.
Jagath Chandana Night Porter
Jagath Chandana, originally from Sri Lanka, works at the Palazzo as the Night Porter. Right from the start, his infectious smile and passion for personalized service made him a perfect fit for this demanding role. With his own living quarters on site, Jagath is available 24/7 to attend to our guests’ every need – big or small! He loves to wander through Lake Como’s picturesque towns when his busy schedule allows, and uses modern technology to keep up with friends and family back in Sri Lanka – as well as any and every cricket match he can find!
THE PERTUSINI FAMILY Owners of the Palazzo
The Palazzo del Vice Re was the birthplace of Laura Martinelli, the current owners’ (Alessandro, Cristiano and Paolo) mother. Her family ran a traditional Locanda in the palace with a restaurant and a few guestrooms until the early 1960s. When her parents passed away, Laura inherited the property along with some other family members and eventually ended up becoming sole proprietor in the early 2000s. Alessandro’s older brother Cristiano, who was studying architecture at the time, made the palazzo and its restoration the subject of his final thesis. And today, after twelve years of painstaking restoration involving expert craftsman from across Northern Italy, the family heirloom shines in its former glory. Laura’s dreams of welcoming guests once again to the Palazzo and supporting her beloved native Lezzeno have finally come true.
Bruno Pertusini Father
Laura Martinelli Mother
Alessandro Pertusini Brother
Cristiano Pertusini Brother / Architect
Paolo Pertusini Brother
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