Every building tells a story, revealing clues as you strip back the centuries of plaster and paint. The same is true for Palazzo del Vice Re, where the recent renovations offered up exciting – and surprising – echoes of its storied past. Over the centuries, this area at the foot of the Alps was under constant attack for its access to the important trade routes of the Rhine to the north and the Po to the south – whether it was barbarians, rival Italian communes or the European powers that be. One particularly bloody conflict was the ten years’ war between Como and Milan in the early 12th century, which ended with the Duke of Milan’s troops burning lakeside towns like Lezzeno to the ground. Charred timbers from the original medieval structure found during restoration evoke scenes of those fires, and the stone-clad vault (today’s La Cantina!) is thought to have provided refuge. With the next incarnation of the building, the owners made sure to install a watchtower where sentinels could keep a vigilant eye out for enemy ships on the attack – and thanks to that, we have those stunning lake views from the rooms in the tower.