The Words Of Dreams

“A Passalacqua Glossary from A to Z”


A – Amore

Amore, that most Italian of emotions, is universal. And when it comes to this part of paradise, perhaps one of Lake Como’s most beautiful corners, the first people to fall head over heels in love with it were the Odalescalchis, a noble family from Como who started constructing “our” villa in the second half of the 18th century. In 1787, ownership passed to Count Andrea Lucini Passalacqua, who made it one of the largest and most lavish estates in the Lario. A renaissance, in the true sense of the world. And today, the estate is experiencing its second renaissance thanks to Paolo, Antonella and Valentina De Santis, who acquired Villa Passalacqua in 2018 and transformed it into a new jewel in Lake Como’s crown.


B – Bellini

What other Lake Como villa could boast such a guest as Vincenzo Bellini, virtuoso of the Italian bel canto style? The celebrated composer was a guest at Villa Passalacqua from 1829 to 1833, taking inspiration from this dream-like setting to write Norma and La Sonnambula. His muse and star soprano, Giuditta Pasta, resided in a villa on the opposite shore.


C – Colori

An infinite number of colors no matter the season, from the triumph of summer with its blue skies, multicolored blooms and verdant shores to the reds, purples and oranges of autumn. Did you know that Passalacqua is open for all the season’s colors?


D – Design

Passalacqua’s elegant and relaxed style evokes the lost art of travel we call villeggiature all’italiana. All of its fittings and furnishings were either crafted in or inspired by the halcyon days of its founding, whether it is the furniture, porcelain or sumptuous fabrics. There is a plethora of marble, from Verona pink to Carrara white. Plus, a neoclassical fresco cycle by Andrea Appiani, reigning over what is now our restaurant’s Sala Ovale.


E - Energia

A positive, peaceful energy throughout. At Passalacqua, the days saunter by at a relaxing, rejuvenating pace. What to do? Anything you otherwise wouldn’t have time for. Including the pleasure of pondering your own existence.


F – Fiori

They are simply everywhere, in the gardens, within the frescoes, on the fabrics, in the mosaic floors. But above all, flowers are the living subjects of the magnificent arrangements Daniela creates every morning. If you are interested in seeing our master florist at work, plan to visit her open-air atelier in the Palazz courtyard.


G - Giardini

No less than 5 acres of gardens spread across eight terraces sloping gently down to the lake between balustrades, fountains, statues and water features. A chorus of delicate flowers and centuries-old trees, cedars, camelias, cypresses, palm trees, rose bushes, magnolias, azaleas, hydrangeas and olive trees. There is no more intimate retreat than the old greenhouses overlooking the pool, today a delightful orangery.


H – Hotel

A hotel but also a historic home, sumptuous, warm and welcoming. That’s the essence of Passalacqua and its twelve rooms and suites in the Villa, its eight rooms in the Palazz and its four rooms in Casa al Lago. The splendor of Italian art and architecture wherever the eye falls.


I – Italianità

Just say the word “Italia” and it conjures up an aesthetic vision, an effortless elegance, a longing for conviviality and a deep love for the present moment, for each emotion, for each memory. Infinite recollections from our shared past reborn each day in the most enchanting of Italian landscapes on Lake Como.


L – Luce

Lake Como’s inimitable light has seduced generations of travelers from the 17th century right up to the present day. Dazzling reflections that dance and play between the water, the sun and the crisp, clean air.


M – Motoscafo

First of all, the name of this fab motorboat is Didi. Our guests are welcome take her out for a spin and enjoy a blissful day lounging on the sundeck. Right beside it on Passalacqua’s private dock is another member of our floating family, a vintage mahogany cruiser called Giumello, perfect for exploring Lake Como’s charms further afield.

N – Natura

None other than composer extraordinaire and the original music heartthrob Franz Liszt, who lived on Lake Como from 1837 to 1838, found the perfect words to associate the area’s natural beauty with being in love: “When you write the story of two happy lovers, make sure to set it on Lake Como’s shores. I know of no place more demonstrably blessed by heaven; no other I have seen makes love’s enchantment seem more natural.”


O – Orto

As far as the eye can see tomatoes, pumpkins, zucchini, eggplant, green beans, chili peppers, watermelons, cantaloupes, strawberries, basil, oregano, tarragon, thyme. This is the secret to the bounty of fragrant, seasonal produce on our menus. First step of any cooking class at Passalacqua: follow chef as he strolls through the orto in the morning, wicker basket in hand, to gather the ingredients that make his creations shine.


P – Passatempo

Forget the hustle and bustle of your daily grind, because at Passalacqua the only pressing appointments are for a dip in the pool, a game of bocce, chess or tennis, a book to read, a lake cruise, a movie under the stars. It may seem counterintuitive, but the less you do, the more your soul soars.


Q – Quadro

There are almost too many to mention, often priceless, always antique. But there is one particular work of art that evokes the fascination of Passalacqua. The “Lady of the Roses” in the Sala delle Dame, with her porcelain complexion, her embroidered silk gown, a rose in her hand and a serene look in her eye. The art of living, personified.


R – Relax

The ancients called it “otium”, the pleasure of a countryside sojourn, immersed in nature, engaged in introspection, in social interaction, in mental and physical self-care. It was the exact opposite of “negotium”, in short, the business, work and obligations of our daily lives.


S – Spa

In an almost “secret” space in the Palazz, our Spa unfolds before you. With everything a body, a face and a soul could possibly desire. As well as treatments and massages inspired by the products of Dr. Barbara Sturm.


T – Tunnel

Originally, they formed the foundation of the ancient Monastero degli Umiliati. Then, in the 18th century, these secret underground walkways became a network of tunnels connecting the villa with the lake. A place of hiding, narrow escapes, wine cellars, cold stores. Today, our guests walk along these thousand-year-old walls to reach the lake.  


U – Uova

Yes, we do have chickens – and a chicken coop! – on one of our garden terraces, supplying the freshest of eggs every day.


V – Vagabondo

It is not often you find someone who names their sourdough starter, but that is exactly what our pastry chef Magdalena did. She calls it “Vagabondo”, as this particular strain of yeast has followed her every move for the past six years. As far as we can tell, Vagabondo appears to be quite happy at Passalacqua. Otherwise, would our bread, baked in an incredible variety of shapes and flavors, our brioche and our cakes be as delicious as they are?


Z – The end of the alphabet

We have come to the end of our alphabet game, but there is no end to the pleasure of experiencing the beauty, the tranquility and the delight of villeggiatura all’italiana at Passalacqua. Not least because we are keeping our doors open until January 2, 2023. Capodanno on Lake Como? Hard to imagine a better way to ring in the new year.