STAY | Como | Castadiva Resort | 18 September 2012
A tiny road gently curves down the side of the mountain . . . and then suddenly the breathtaking vista of Lake Como is revealed, and you arrive at the magnificent stone villa on its shore.
When Italian opera singer, Guiditta Pasta, bought Villa Roccabruna in 1827, she filled the home with music. It became a gathering place for composers and opera singers of the time.
It is now a luxury hotel, meticulously designed with inspiration from the villa’s musical past, and the spectacular view of Lake Como.
Fortuny wall coverings and chair cushions are stenciled with musical notes, as if from an opera score.
This contemporary portrait on plexiglass is of a composer who visited the villa when singer, Guiditta Pasta, lived there.
The furnishings are in striking jewel tones . . . I love the combination of chartreuse with violet.
I wandered around the villa, exploring the various sitting rooms, the library, and the luxurious spa.
For me, it’s the details that stand out, like this fushia piping on a chartreuse herringbone chair . . .
. . . and the variegated velvet on the dining chairs, woven so that it looks like it’s vintage . . .
. . . and the hand-painted back cushion of this armchair.
. . . and the fuschia orchids in a vintage urn atop a table painted with a similar motif . . .
. . . and the way the fruit was artfully arranged at breakfast.
Tables on the terrace overlook the lake. Yes, the weather was perfect.
The guest suites are down a tree-lined stone walkway alongside the lake.
The suites are outfitted with a beautifully designed kitchen, living room area, and separate bedroom and bathroom.
Both living room and bedroom open on to a balcony overlooking glorious Lake Como.
One of my favorite places was the pool.
The pool was floating in the lake. Seriously, how cool is that?
Inside the villa, there’s an indoor pool, and saunas, and steam rooms. (One day I tried out each and every pool activity.)
If you’re so inclined, there’s even a boat anchored under the villa that can be used to tour the lake.
By a stroke of fortune, I arrived on the day of Ferragosto, an Italian holiday celebrated on August 15. Originally a celebration put in place by Emperor Augustus in ancient Rome, it is now a national day set aside for festivities.
At Castadiva, the party began in the early evening with cocktails and fresh sushi at the pool.
I couldn’t resist taking this sushi close-up.
As the sun set, the property became even more stunning.
Then it was time for dinner. Tables with black tablecloths and white napkins were set up on the lawn with my favorite green velvet dining chairs.
Candles flickered, and, as it got darker, lights from houses were reflected in the lake.
Dinner was served, and wine poured . . . and then the show was announced. It was a light and water show, set to music. Like fireworks, but with water. The jets of water shot up from all around the pool, and changed with the colors of the lights in time to the operatic music. I’d never seen anything quite like it.
The celebration of Ferragosto was certainly a bonus, but really every day at this magical place, on the shores of the awe-inspiring Lake Como, is worthy of a celebration.
A truly memorable experience.
Via Enrico Caronti 69
+39 031 32511