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Villa Serbelloni and Villa Melzi, Bellagio, Italy

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Meet at information office on Piazza della Chiesa
Lake Como
Italy 22021
Tel: 39 031 951 555's insider take:

Villa Serbelloni is a Renaissance villa built in the 15th century and surrounded by dense woodlands and gardens. The property's summer villa down by the lake has been converted into the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni, and the rest of the vast estate belongs to the Rockefeller Foundation. Unless you apply for one of the foundation's monthlong grants for scholars, you can't get into the main villa up on the hill, but you can tour the grounds and extensive gardens twice daily in summer. If you want to actually get inside one of the grand homes, pair this with a visit to the Villa Melzi, on the other end of Bellagio. This neoclassical building was the home of Francesco Melzi d'Eril, Napoléon's man in Italy (Lungolario Manzoni; 39-0339-457-3838; It is also surrounded by ornate gardens that include a man-made lake, exotic trees and tropical plants, and, beside the Moorish-style Kaffehaus, the statue of Dante and Beatrice that inspired Liszt's Dante Sonata.

Villa Serbelloni garden tours Tuesday to Sunday at 11 am and 3:30 pm April to early November.
Villa Melzi open daily 9 am to 6 pm, April 1 to October 30.

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