17th-Century Villa Passalacqua Holds Many Secrets

Belowground, cellars and hallways form secret passageways; up above, there's a pool, dock, and 200-year-old greenhouse.

Set against the backdrop of the Alps, Italy’s Lake Como is famous for its glittering blue waters and centuries-old villas. While the picturesque place has long been popular with travelers looking for a five-star hotel, it’s also a top choice for second (and third) homeowners.

Located in the village of Moltrasio, Villa Passalacqua is an elegant 17th-century villa certain to draw vacationers back year after year. Situated on a 4.6-acre lot, the residence was originally conceived by a wealthy count who hired the top architects and designers of his day to create a regal space for entertaining—and its timeless, elevated design continues to be a major selling point today. Spread across 26,501 square feet, the nine-bedroom main house shows off carved ceilings, Venetian chandeliers, antique furniture, and frescos painted by neoclassical artist Andrea Appiani. Pillared porticoes, ornate wall carvings, and rounded ceilings with intricate paintings speak to the villa’s regal past, while the kitchen and bathrooms are equipped with updated appliances and amenities to meet modern needs. A separate 4,000-square-foot villa is outfitted with six additional bedrooms.

The grounds include a waterfront swimming pool flanked by olive and lemon trees and a 200-year-old glass greenhouse. Winding walkways lined with fountains and manicured hedges lead the way to the water, where a private dock awaits. Hidden beneath lush manicured gardens, a series of underground cellars, rooms, and hallways create a secret passageway that connects the main villa to the lake and marina.

Recognized as an Italian National Trust property, the villa hosted notable guests such as former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. Italian opera composer Vincenzo Bellini lived in the villa in the 1800s and composed the operas Norma and La sonnambula during his tenure there.

On October 30, Concierge Auctions will sell the property at auction. The villa, which was previously listed for €100 million, has a reserve price of €20 million.

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