The residence of the “Balbiano” was born as house of the noble family of the Giovio, and in 1787 was acquired by the cardinal Angelo Maria Durini, who bought also the cape of Lavedo.
On the small peninsula, where was already a Franciscan convent and a little church dedicated to San Giovanni, the cardinal, attracted from the incomparable sight, built an elegant porch flenked by two halls, a library and the hall of music.
The villa and the garden were enriched by the following owners. In XIX century Luigi Porro Lambertenghi, antiAustrian patriot born in Milan, became the new owner. Later, the villa belonged to marquis Giuseppe Arconati Visconti.
The villa was bought in the 1974 by count Guido Monzino, that restored the building and the garden, furnished the halls with English and French furnitures, and its numerous collections of art, the important library, the relics and the memories of his travels, in particular that one to the North Pole, reached in 1971 with a sled pulled by dogs, and the first Italian ascension to the Everest in 1973.
In 1988, he left the Balbianello in inheritance of F.A.I., the Italian Fund for Environment.
[Via www.larioonline.it website]