So his is how the other half live. Big waterfront palaces, seaplanes and helicopters, and a constant stream of tourists gawking into your property to get a glimpse.
We are now in Lake Como, about an hour’s train ride from Milan.
Lake Como is where some geezer called George Clooney has his summer residence. Apparently he also runs a coffee shop or something.
It’s a beautiful area, and reminds me somewhat of Milford Sound in New Zealand, just with hotels, ferries and Americans.
The view from our room is impressive to say the least.
Today we caught a ferry from Bellagio, where we are staying, to Lenno and Villa del Balbianello.
It is a former monastery, where parts of Star Wars and James Bond have been filmed. Personally, I don’t recall the Italian villa scene from Star Wars, but do recall the Casino Royale scene where he was in a wheelchair at the end of the movie, sitting on the terrace.
Most recently the villa has been owned by Guido Monzino, who was the heir to one of Italy’s big retail empires. He bought it in 1974 and lived there for 14 years before his death.
Inside, it is exactly how we wanted it to remain. He was part of an expedition to the North Pole, so his sled is on display. He was also leader of the first Italian expedition to Mount Everest. Also on display are many relics from his time abroad.
He was obviously a bit of a Ron Burgundy, with lots of books and the rich smell of mahogany.
In one room, he had panels brought in for a castle in France. They were too big for the walls, so he had the floor sunken by about a foot so they could fit in.
On the way back, we saw more villas and hotels, one with a floating pool over the lake.
By the way. George still hasn’t called about us popping around for dinner and a Nespresso.