Today’s cosmopolitan woman isn’t “Looking for Mr. Goodbar”, but for Mr. George Clooney.
When 38-year-old Stefania Strada, for example, an office coordinator of a Milan financial firm, packed up and shoved her two kids into her Nissan X-Trail along with her husband for the weekend, hoping to “get away,” there was only one place to go – Lake Como.
“It’s only an hour away from Milan and the best place to visit, relax and go for a gelato,” says Strada. “And just like you can’t think of Disney without Mickey Mouse, you can’t think of Lake Como without George Clooney.”
Clooney and his wife Amal may be suffering the consequences of being the hottest tourist attraction to this northern village and home to one of the deepest lakes in Europe – over 400 meters. The Hollywood actor confessed as much to Jimmy Kimmel recently, that his infant twins have been weaponized with Italian curse words.
“We did a really dumb thing,” said Clooney. “They (the twins) speak fluent Italian at three. I don’t speak Italian. My wife doesn’t speak Italian. We’ve armed them with a language. I’ll say go back and clean your room and they’ll say ‘Papa stronzo.’ And I’ll say what?”
Lake Como: Clooney’s mansion
Clooney purchased Villa Oleandra from the Heinz family, an 18th-century home on Lake Como in 2001, for $13.5 million. That drew considerable media attention from fans and journalists often loitering around his home in the hopes of capturing a glimpse of the Oscar Winner. The Paparazzi always have good reason to be alert since many ‘rat pack friends’ have visited: Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Matt Damon and Leonardo DiCaprio. Amal and George also welcomed Meghan Markle and Prince Harry at their home during the summer in 2018.
And the Clooney attraction has brought a boost in real estate sales for Lake Como.
Villa Sola Cabiati: Click on image to enlarge and view gallery
Renting Villa Sola Cabiati
Stargazing with a chance encounter of the silver fox celebrity is a next-to-nil happening, but marketing manager Violetta Godini, of My Private Villas, believes hiring a Lake Como mansion is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
“The idea of renting your own villa is so much more effective than going to a hotel. You feel more like a resident rather than a tourist,” says Godini. “I think that the beauty of the area is that you can relax or pack your stay with activities. You can spend your time just sunbathing and strolling on the lakeside or go on boat rides, visit the numerous attractions – from majestic buildings to cute art galleries or stunning gardens. It’s an experience that would suit everyone.”
Among an impressive list of luxury properties on their roster, My Private Millas manage the rental of Villa Sola Cabiati. A six-bedroom palace with a swimming pool and private moor, starting at weekly rates of €49,000 ($73,400 CAD, $57,450 USD), it’s a place where you can enjoy majestic sunsets in a mansion cradled in one of the most beautiful corners of the world. The property was once owned by the Duke of Serbelloni.
Godini adds: “Lake Como has historically been a high-end holiday destination, as proved by the many ancient villas that surround it. The villages and towns upon it are beautiful and quaint. And the architecture reminds us of a gentler, slower and more elegant time. It’s the perfect location to wind down and relax. I also strongly advise renting a boat for a private tour of the lake, possibly in a classic boat like a Riva. It’s an unbeatable experience.”
Rich and famous guests
La Repubblica reported that Tom Cruise was rumoured to be interested in buying Clooney’s home back in 2012. But no deal was ever struck. Also, Bill Gates is reportedly actively searching for a villa. Meanwhile, multi-billionaire and rookie astronaut Richard Branson denies owning Lake Como’s Villa La Cassinella.
Real estate agents have seen property values rise over the years. Lake Como is also a popular Hollywood location, a list that includes Hitchcock’s first feature film, The Pleasure Garden, a James Bond flick, Casino Royale with Daniel Craig, and Star Wars Episode II, Attack of the Clones.
This inverted Y shaped lake is noted for other famous visits. That list includes Napoleon Bonaparte, John F. Kennedy, Giuseppe Verdi who composed La Traviata, and Leonardo Da Vinci, who used the streams and waterfalls as a backdrop for The Madonna of the Rocks.
Many have enjoyed the pursuit of life, liberty and Lake Como.