Kassy & Chris’ Villa Balbianello Portrait Photography are some of my absolute favourite photos of late, especially because this session turned out to be a Surprise Engagement shoot!! Kassy & Chris have a wonderful habit of booking portrait sessions every time they travel – they’ve found that hiring a local photographer to show them around is an incredible way to see a new city. So when they began planning their trip to Italy, they reached out to me and booked a portrait photography session at Villa Balbianello, a place Kassy has dreamed of visiting since seeing it in Star Wars (true story!). It just so happened that the night before our photoshoot, Chris got down on one knee as the sun set over Lake Como, and asked Kassy if she’d like to grow old together. Safe to say, these two couldn’t have wiped the smiles from their faces if they tried.
Where to start with Villa del Balbianello… If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll have seen me waxing lyrical about this Villa over the last few months. Truly, it seems too beautiful to be real. The Villa, situated on a promontory looking out over Lake Como, is home to breathtaking panoramas, beautiful gardens and of course, the perfectly maintained 18th-century villa itself. It’s hard to believe that this was originally built by a Cardinal who wanted to host “exclusive literary retreats”. Eventually, Villa Balbianello was bought by an adventurer, Guido Monzino, who filled it with souvenirs, maps, and art he’d collected on his travels, before bequeathing it to FAI – an organisation that protects Italy’s rich history and heritage.
These days, the Villa’s romantic history and epic scenery have seen it become a sought-after wedding destination and an absolute hit with travellers who don’t mind moving off the beaten track. Just quietly, we wedding & portrait photographers are a little bit madly in love with it, too. It’s not easy to get a spot though! Applications for Weddings and even Portrait Photography at Villa Balbianello need to be made and booked in advance, so if you’d like to book Portrait Photography or even a Wedding Ceremony at Villa Balbianello, definitely ask your photographer or planner to help you lock it in ASAP! It’s an easy application, but applications are first come, first served, so you do need to get in on time!
Situated just south of a delightful Italian village called Lenno, getting to Villa Balbianello is half the fun! The Villa sits on top of a hill surrounded by a natural reserve on one side, and Lake Como on the other, so arriving involves a little adventure. If you’ve hired a car and are just going to visit, you can drive to a small car park on via Artigiano before hiking about 20 minutes. If you’ve booked a photoshoot though, arriving by boat is the way to go (not because I say so, because the photo permit requires it!).
There’s a small ferry every half hour or so from il Lido di Lenno, right near the car park, or if you feel like seeing a little more of the lake, you can hire a private taxi from the surrounding villages. It adds an extra layer of fun to the day and is truly a beautiful way to take in Lake Como’s epic scenery. I’ve been lucky enough to do the trip a number of times, and I promise you, it never gets old!
Have you fallen in love with Villa Balbianello yet? I know I have! Get in touch via my Contact Form if you’d like to chat more about your Villa Balbianello Wedding or Portrait Photography! I’d love to help you plan your perfect day, and photograph the emotional moments and epic scenes for you to remember and look back on.