The holiday lodge built in the 1820s for Michele Platamone, the Duke of Cannizzaro and Prince of Lardaria, has now been restored to former glory and opened today for the first time to paying guests. This glorious neo-classical home is the latest offer in luxury holiday accommodation in Como. It is also available as a stylish venue to host special events.
The villa has been lovingly restored by ex-pat couple Katy and Alex who have realised their ambition of renovating and sharing this dream of a villa. You are invited to share their truly beautiful home if you would like to experience its nineteenth century opulence matched with modern day comforts and convenience. The Villa Platamone opened for reservations today, 15 May 2019 exclusively via their website.
The Sicilian aristocrat Michele Platamone (Duke of Cannizzaro, Prince of Lardaria and Rosolini, Count of Sant’Antonio, Baron of Roccapalumba, Cipolla, Imposa and Longarini, Signore of Buscaglia, Ritibillini, Almidara and Sannini) had renowned architect Luigi Clerichetti build this holiday home for him in the gardens of a monastery suppressed during the Napoleonic era. Clerichetti designed a number of villas for the aristocracy in Lombardy and the Swiss Canton of Ticino. His urban villas such as the Villa Ciani in Lugano were mostly built in the fashionable neo-classical style as is the Villa Platamone.
He also designed many of the aristocracy’s rural retreats in the eclectic romantic style borrowed from the United Kingdom as with the Villa Bignami on the lake on the border of Tavernola and Cernobbio. Built above the eastern edge of Como’s old town looking up towards Garzola, the villa was designed both externally and internally to suit the needs of a commissioning aristocrat with a two-line string of titles to his name.
For Katy and Alex it has been a long road both physically and metaphorically in getting to this grand opening. They originally lived in Moscow but left there thirty years ago for Israel and then on to numerous countries around the world. However, having holidayed on the lake, they gradually came to focus their gaze on Como. Initially they just bought a holiday home up in Argegno but Katy started to explore the feasibility of establishing some form of hospitality business nearby. It was only on seeing Villa Platamone that her ideas took final shape – a shape determined by the building itself. For Katy recognised that the villa would make a beautiful family home yet with plenty of space and the potential to offer top end luxury bed and breakfast accommodation. Hence was born her dream of restoring this grand villa to former glory and sharing it with family and guests.
Most of the ground floor is public space with only the professionally equipped and spacious kitchen marked out as private. Guests are encouraged to make use of the billiards room, the Winter Garden with its stunning frescoed ceiling, the dining room and the immense Great Room with its imposing fireplace. Each of these rooms lead out onto the patio and park and the swimming pool on its south facing flank.
The villa can house up to fourteen guests within four suites and two double rooms. The suites are all on the first floor, all individually decorated and furnished but in a classical style in keeping with the neo-classical design of the villa.
Every effort has been taken to use the original fittings wherever possible as in the case of the deep marble bath adorning one of the suites. Most of the suites have access to a private terrace. The villa’s website details the exact decor, facilities, and disposition of each suite. Such huge care, attention and cost has gone into the renovation and decoration of the villa that Katy feels it is not an appropriate environment for young children. I could appreciate her point of view after my visit.
The conversion of the attic space gave Katy the opportunity to go for a more contemporary design making creative use of skylights whilst incorporating architectural features such as the immense timber beams supporting the roof. The attic also houses the gym and the sauna.
What truly impressed me was the quality of the restoration work. No expense could have been spared. The restoration of the Winter Garden’s floral frescoed ceiling or the delicate marquetry in the small room that runs off from the Billiard Room go to show how much love has been put into revitalising this architectural gem. It is exceptionally rare to find such extensive early nineteenth century interiors so faithfully restored and available for public viewing and enjoyment.
It surprised me to hear that the villa itself was not under the Soprintendenza delle Belle Arti although the villa’s park is. The Soprintendenza is a well-meaning organisation designed to ensure the integrity of Italy’s immense architectural and artistic patrimony. This means that no changes can be made to the parkland surrounding the villa without the express approval of the Soprintendenza.
Who knows what may or may not have been allowed if their jurisdiction had also covered the villa itself. Buildings like the Villa Platamone cost a lot to restore and maintain and, with a lack of public funding available, one way such treasures will be preserved for the future is by placing them in the hands of those entrepreneurs who can cover the high costs of sympathetic restoration. Yet they also need to be at liberty to modify such buildings to produce sufficient revenue. Villa Platamone is lucky to have found a couple prepared to restore her to former glory out of pure love and respect for the building and out of a genuine desire to share her glory with others beyond their family.
If you would like to be one of the first to experience this marvellous addition to Como’s options for luxury accommodation, go to the villa’s website for more information and to make a booking. Large discounts are available for this opening season. Early birds may get up to a 40% discount by entering the code VPLAUNCH2019 on their booking form. Katy intends to keep the villa open to guests until the end of October, opening again over the Christmas period before restarting next year’s season from the end of March. For more great images of the villa and its park, use the Instagram hashtag #villaplatamone or @villaplatamone to view their Facebook page. Send any queries you may have to firstname.lastname@example.org or call Katy on +39 031 249922.