This Popular Italian Tourist Spot Is Home To One Of The Best Hotels In The World

Italy has a long history with luxury brands. Gucci, one of the most expensive brands in the world, has made leather goods in Italy since 1921, while Ferrari can trace its roots back to 1947. The elegant and stylish new Italian hotel overlooking Lake Como, which recently received the accolade of top spot on CNN Travel's "World's 50 Best Hotels for 2023," also has strong historic roots.

The villa at the heart of Lake Como's Passalacqua was built in the late 18th century. While the property changed hands many times over the years, including from Pope Innocent XI and the Passalacqua dynasty, it was purchased by the De Santis family in 2018, after which it underwent a three-year restoration, ultimately reopening in June 2022. Bringing back the Italian tradition of villeggiatura, a rural retreat from city life, Passalacqua is the perfect place to explore, relax, and maybe even learn something new. While staying in one of the 24 guest accommodations, expect to be impressed with fine Italian craftsmanship, comfort, natural beauty, and plenty of things to do. So, brush up on your Italian and plan a trip to Passalacqua, one of the world's finest hotels, located on Lake Como's western shore.

What to expect at Passalacqua

The setting at Passalacqua is idyllic for cozying up with a good book, pausing only to soak up the scenery on the 7 acres of gardens or the view from the pool overlooking Lake Como. But for those seeking a more active destination, Passalacqua offers so many unique options. Play bocce ball in the kitchen garden. Gather fruit, herbs, and eggs. Exercise facing an olive grove. Swim laps in the stylish pool before popping into the greenhouse-turned-chic-and-colorful-bar designed by Milan-based JJ Martin of La DoubleJ. Explore the lake by vintage or modern boat, splurge on massages and facials at the on-site spa, or visit the sauna and steam room located in a vaulted stone chamber running beneath Passalacqua's gardens. The hotel even offers outdoor cinema evenings showcasing international classics.

As for the food at Passalacqua — expect simple and traditional dishes using fresh and seasonal ingredients from the resident chef, Alessandro Rinaldi. Guests are welcome in the kitchen and invited to grab a snack or even join in on the baking and pasta-making.

How to get here and what to do nearby

Passalacqua is located approximately an hour north of Milan. Visitors to the hotel arriving by plane should fly into Milan Malpensa International Airport. Renting a car at the airport allows travelers to explore the lake on their own schedules, but a car isn't necessary. Getting around Lake Como by boat is also a popular mode of transportation. If traveling to the hotel by train, purchase tickets to Como San Giovanni Station. The hotel is only 20 minutes from the station. Cabs are limited, so advanced booking for transportation from the station to the hotel is advised.

Situated in the town of Moltrasio, Passalacqua is only 15 minutes from the town of Como. Como has so much to offer. From beautiful historic architecture, like Gothic and Romanesque churches, to plenty of shopping, dining, lakeside gardens, and beaches — it's well worth a visit. And while there aren't as many attractions in the small ancient town of Moltrasio, it's a fantastic spot to explore steep streets and enjoy an ice cream before heading back to Passalacqua.

Please note that Passalacqua will be closed from November 12, 2023, to March 15, 2024, while a new indoor swimming pool is built.