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A Visit to Naboo: Villa Balbianello on Lake Como

May 30, 2011

A Gorgeous Lake View on Naboo

The reopening of Star Tours in Disneyland and Walt Disney World has awakening my love for Star Wars.  All this discussion of destinations on Star Tours adventures reminds me of that special trip our family took to the Lake Region of Naboo this past spring, where we retraced the steps of Anakin and Padme to that lakefront palace where the two shared their first kiss and wed in secrecy.  Ok, we didn’t really travel to the fictitious planet of Naboo, but we did make it to the gorgeous spot on Lake Como where they filmed the marriage of Anakin and Padme: the Villa Del Balbianello in Italy.

For those non-Star Wars buffs out there, let me share some worldly info on the place.  Villa del Balbianello lies on the western shore of Lake Como near Isola Comacina.  It was built in the late 18th century on the site of a Franciscan monastery for Cardinal Angelo Maria Durini who lived there in until his death.  By the early 20th century, the villa had fallen into disrepair when Butler Ames, an American military officer bought and restored the villa and its glorious gardens.  In 1974, the Italian explorer who lead the first Italian expedition to climb Mt. Everest, Guido Monzino, purchased the villa (and today you can see a museum of his work at the villa).  The villa has been featured in many films including, of course, Star Wars II: Attack of the Clones.  Though you will find no mention of Star Wars at the villa, you can’t help but recognize some of the memorable spots from the film.

The trip to Naboo was definitely worth the 30 minute drive from our Lake Como accommodations, the Grand Hotel Imperiale in Moltrasio.  After parking, we took a short and beautiful water taxi ride to the villa  jetty, where we ascended the steep promenade to take in the breathtaking views, admire the meticulous gardens and, of course, get our pictures taken at the infamous terrace with the stunning Lake Como backdrop.  We purchased tickets to visit just the grounds, but those interested could get more expensive tickets to enter the inside of the villa and the museum on site.

I definitely recommend a visit to Villa Balbianello if are in the Lake Como region, regardless of whether or not you are a Star Wars’ fan.  It was not by accident that this location
was selected to represent the ideal life of Naboo.  And for those Star War geeks who would love to exchange vows at the very place where Anakin and Padme wed, I believe the site is available to rent for your destination wedding.

Check out photos of Villa Balbianello in Grin Travel slideshow.

Happy Travels and May the Force Be with You.

-Jennifer Grinold, Travel Agent
Grin Travel
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