The enchanting landscape of Lake Como, sculpted by the glaciers of yesteryear, has been the playground of pleasure-seekers from near and far for centuries. Its shores are home to must-see sights for everyone from culture connoisseurs to adventure-seekers, from fashionistas to families. Bellagio, known as the “Pearl of the Lario”, is one of the lake’s most popular spots and a great jumping off point to explore the region. Although we may be a bit biased, we think Palazzo del Vice Re – just a few miles down the lake road from Bellagio – is in a unique position to offer guests a Lake Como experience like no other.

For starters, guests at Palazzo del Vice Re are greeted as neighbors, not tourists, in the quaint fishing village of Lezzeno that unwinds along four miles of lake shore and oozes old-world charm. The warm welcome they receive from the Palazzo owners, the Pertusini family, as well as the personable Palazzo team comes with insider access to the people and places that make Lake Como the world’s favorite lake. And as a property proudly managed by IC Bellagio, Palazzo del Vice Re also delivers the services of an award-winning destination specialist when guests want to organize a day-trip, celebrate a special occasion in style or secure bragging rights to experiences money simply cannot buy.

This week, we would like to take the opportunity to give you a taste of what you can expect when you book a stay with us outside Bellagio. Whether it is a couple looking for lakeside romance or a family making lifelong memories, bachelorettes sending the bride off in style or adventurers mixing fitness with fun, Palazzo del Vice Re is perfectly positioned and ideally equipped to make your Lake Como vacation unforgettable. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us to find out more – we can’t wait to welcome you to Palazzo del Vice Re!

A Lake Como Love Story

Unless you are a fan of trivia, you may not know that the traditional present for the 12th wedding anniversary is silk. But if you did, you might surprise your better half (who’s quite the fashion connoisseur!) on that special day with a trip to Lake Como – a world-renowned center for silk production since the 1400s. Imagine her surprise when she opens a gift box with a made-in-Como silk scarf and two plane tickets to Milan (only two, mind you, the kids are old enough at this stage to stay with grandma…) – you might even be forgiven for forgetting your 11th anniversary!

You arrive at the Palazzo by private towncar and check into our elegant La Vista junior suite with its stunning lake views framed in the finest Italian silk drapes. Over a welcome aperitivo in Il Bar, Alessandro, the son of our owners, might regale you with tales of village women who used to keep the eggs of their precious silkworms warm under their shirts or recount the history of the local mulberry trees that thrived in Lake Como’s microclimate and fed those prolific spinners. Your evening stroll along the lake, with your wife’s silk scarf wafting cinematically behind her, takes you to a rustic lakeside crotto, where you toast twelve summers together and dine on risotto crowned with the flakiest piece of lake fish you’ve ever eaten.

On your first morning in the Palazzo, Giovanna serves her legendary breakfast on the terrace to the sounds of waves lightly lapping on the shore. Overnight oats for her, made-to-order omelet for him and a few handpicked blooms from our garden garnishing the fruit plate. Before long, our butler Jagath accompanies you down the cobbled path to meet your driver, Corrado. Today’s behind-the-scenes experience at one of the area’s most historic silk producers includes a browse of the impressive archives, a detailed tour of the production halls and the rare opportunity to chat with a member of the family who founded this internationally renowned silk dynasty. On your way back to Lezzeno, your private driver drops you off at Bellagio’s picturesque Villa Melzi gardens for a private tour followed by dinner at the sophisticated restaurant Alle Darsene overlooking Loppia’s ancient harbor. Our loyal boat captain collects you after the meal for a scenic sunset cruise and a bottle of bubbly to share as you cruise home.

The rest of your week is taken up with the sweet idleness the Italians call “il dolce far’ niente”: lounging on our sun terrace watching the Lake Como world go by, indulging in a his-and-hers massage in your suite and eating more gelato than you’d ever admit to your kids. Waking up each day to the fanciful swirls and scrolls of the ceiling fresco and heading to your room each night with your footsteps echoing on the stone stairway will forever remind you of this special time together. Packing up for your trip back home (squeezing in just a few silk scarves, ties and tunics!), you can’t help but wish silk were the anniversary gift for every year…

Fantastic Family Fun

Taking the children to Europe is a rite of passage for most families, though getting the balance right between culture and kid-friendly activities can be a real challenge. Palazzo del Vice Re offers families of all shapes and sizes an ideal location for their introduction to Europe’s history and natural beauty as well as a whole lot of fun!

It starts right when you arrive at the Palazzo and check in to our three-bedroom loft apartment L’Onda. Our Hospitality Executive Steff ceremoniously presents our Very Important Children passports to the younger kids that have fun-filled worksheets, treasure hunts and coloring pages to keep them occupied as you explore the lake. And the custom hot tub overlooking the lake is a great spot for them to splash and play while the adults unpack your suitcases. On your Palazzo tour later with Cristiano, one of our owners and the chief architect behind the painstaking renovations, make sure he tells you about this remarkable feat of ingenuity that he designed and installed with a local Lezzeno shipbuilder! Your first night on the lake has you dining in a quaint trattoria in Bellagio with the area’s best Pasta Bolognese, before heading to the gelateria to practice a few words of Italian – un cono cioccolato, per favore.

As all three of your kids have their own (strong) personalities, you’ve done your homework with our staff and the destination specialists at IC Bellagio to make sure everyone “has their day”. One day is all about watersports thanks to all-access passes at the nearby Jolly Racing Club for their stand-up paddleboards, kayaks and water trampolines. The highlight of the day – a waterskiing and aquatubing trip with JRC’s expert boat captain – is something your teens and tweens won’t soon forget. The next day starts with a guided tour of lovely Villa Carlotta with its vast botanic gardens and fresco-filled 17th-century palace, and ends with a painting class at a local bottega dell’arte with a master painter, a special treat for the aspiring artist in the family! Another day is spent in the mountains above the lake with rope and ziplining courses for kids of all ages at Jungle Raider Adventure Park and a rustic lunch at a local farmhouse where kids can see the resident goats, sheep and pigs lolling about.

All of this activity may mean going out in the evening is a challenge for tired tots and teens – all the more convenient that you can whip up an easy dinner in your own designer kitchen. On request, our Guest Relations Assistant Chiara would even be happy to stock the fridge with your family’s favorite staples before you arrive. And with our reliable babysitting service, mom and dad can escape in a water taxi to the quaint Locanda dell’Isola Comacina for a romantic island dinner for two while the kids are entertained at home. On your last day, we send the whole family off in style with a lunchtime pizza-making experience at Nando’s popular pizzeria in Bellagio. Everything from making the dough from scratch to choosing the right toppings and sliding it into the wood-fired oven gives everyone a great behind-the-scenes glimpse of one of Italy’s iconic foods – and ends on a high note that will have the kids clambering to return to Europe soon!

All Adventure – All The Time

Not all visitors to Lake Como are keen to kick back and relax – many of our guests come eager for an all-you-can-eat adventure that keeps the adrenaline flowing. You just might be one of these intrepid explorers, who hardly drops your bags in our one-bedroom La Torre apartment before you’re down by the Sun Terrace taking the complimentary kayaks out for a spin. You come back – with lats and triceps burning – and dig into a plate of homemade pasta prepared by Giovanna as part of the Palazzo’s new range of light meals. Then, it’s early to bed because our friends at the kitesurfing school at Lake Como’s northern tip are predicting perfect Breva winds from about 10 am the next morning and you’ll want to catch the first ferry to make the most of it! On the way back to Lezzeno when you’re still on the kitesurfing high, you stop off in Bellagio for a browse and a meal and then hike along the ancient mule tracks known as the Strada Regia back to the Palazzo.

The next day, you take the opportunity to sleep in and linger a bit longer over breakfast – after all, your canyoning trip isn’t until after lunch. Leaving only with a towel, a change of clothes and your trusty GoPro, our driver takes you to the meeting point, where your expert guide kits you out with wetsuits, sturdy footwear and a good helmet. Three hours of jumping, sliding and repelling down the gushing falls and between steep rock walls is something that will stay with you forever. For dinner, Steff has invited a local chef to make risotto made with traditional family recipes and homegrown Lombard ingredients in the stone-clad cellars of La Cantina and you definitely deserve some carbs!

Your final morning has you studying your trail maps over a second (or third!) expertly made cappuccino in the Sala Giunone. Your backpacks are by the door packed and ready to go, while Jagath has already stored your other bags to be collected when you get back. Today’s destination is the Dorsale del Triangolo Lariano, a series of paths leading from the tip of the Bellagio promontory to lovely Brunate above Como town. Our local alpinisti guides have put together a two-day trek complete with some serious peaks – like Monte San Primo at five and a half thousand feet – and a choice of rustic chalets offering traditional mountain fare and basic accommodations. Paolo, the member of the Pertusini family who spends most of his free time exploring the local hills, stopped by for a drink with you last night in La Cantina and pointed out a few spots where the alpine panorama is simply breathtaking. With only a few puffy clouds in the sky, you can’t wait to set off!

Bye Bye Bridie

Let’s face it – when your bridesmaids open the invitation to your bachelorette party and discover it’s taking place on Lake Como, they know they’ve just won the bridal party lottery! Upon your arrival from the Milan airport, charming Steff is on the terrace popping the cork on a fine bottle of Franciacorta to welcome you all to the Palazzo. The swag bags Chiara organized with you in the weeks before are handed out to oooohs and aaaaahs as everyone peruses this cute collection of local goodies and gets their first glimpse of the fun-filled itinerary. While everyone settles in our two-bedroom L’Isola Comacina apartment and deluxe double Il Fuoco, there is just enough time to fix your make-up and throw on a floral maxi-dress – our guide Rita and our boatman Ezio are already waiting at the landing stage to whisk you away!

After a cruise past some of the most stunning lakeside villas (complete with some of Rita’s juicy news about the VIPs who stayed there!) and a guided tour of the incomparable Villa del Balbianello (complete with the photo op on its famous vine-covered loggia!), Ezio drops the ladies off at the Lido di Lenno for an aperitivo on the “beach” and a delicious meal at this rustic-chic locale. At Rita’s recommendation, Ezio cruises by the Lido di Bellagio on the way back home to see if their disco is hopping – and no one needs to be asked twice. Well after midnight, you return to the Palazzo and collapse into bed with big smiles on your faces.

Only a few of you manage to make it to the kitchens for 9 (!) to meet Alessandro and complete the first stage of the Pertusini Pizza Experience – a master class in the perfect pizza dough. Our resident pizzaiolo has everyone up to their elbows in sticky dough and having a laugh as the rest of the ladies slowly wander in. After Alessandro’s goodbye and a coffee-heavy breakfast on the terrace, the group dons cover-ups and floppy hats and spends a few hours on the Sun Terrace swapping stories and leafing through bridal mags. Ezio is back around 2 to take everyone by boat to Bellagio for a light lunch, a boutique browse and a scoop or two of sorbetto. Later that evening, Alessandro accompanies the ladies through the village’s meandering cobbled paths to the lush Pertusini family garden to complete the pizza experience. To everyone’s general amusement, not all pizza bakers succeed entirely in shaping the dough or sliding it into the wood-fired oven. The meal itself, however – homemade food enjoyed around a table of old and new friends, full of lively storytelling and laughter – is a smashing success and a great reminder that Italian cuisine is about more than just eating.

On the final morning, everyone’s a little choked up as they bid arrivederci to their new-found friends at the Palazzo and promise to come back soon. But, the trip isn’t over yet! Thanks to the exclusive range of Altagamma Italian Experiences by IC Bellagio, you get to spend your last few hours before your flight home at Gucci’s flagship store in the heart of Milan’s Quadrilatero della Moda. This is the first retail stop for the latest designs, which means you’ll have a guided tour of new collections not yet available at other Gucci retailers and the innovative Gucci DIY studio. Head designer Alessandro Michele wants people to “feel free in the expression of themselves” and invites you to customize your own unisex bomber jackets, sneakers or handbags with a wide variety of eye-candy extras from colorful dragonfly and snake patches to Swarovski-studded initials. Weighed down with shopping bags and delightful memories, your group boards their flight for home and wonders how your wedding day will ever top this!