Dolce vita in a sumptuous palace that will stop your time for a moment

Everyone eventually needs that special break in which you will reset your thoughts and recharge your batteries. A weekend at Villa Borghi Palace offers just such relaxation.

villa Borghi

If your trip takes you to Milan, and you are lucky to have the extra time you want to spend outside the city crowds, this is definitely the text for you. Many will recommend you to go to Lake Como, which should not be missed, but if you long for a small town where you can rest from your own thoughts, then Varano Borghi is for you.

A small town, located in the picturesque nature that completes Lake Comabbio, 50 km from Milan, and has only 2500 inhabitants. The name Varano comes from the old Celtic word Var meaning water, which indicates a place located next to water. The history of this place dates back to the Bronze Age, and the remains of amphorae full of gold coins are proof that the place was of great importance in the Roman Empire. At the end of the 18th century, Varano became the property of Fedele Borghi di Gallarate, and the legacy of that name is Villa Borghi, the palace where the family of the same name lived, where you can book a weekend today and feel like an aristocracy.

Villa Borghi

The sumptuous palace underwent restoration in the nineteenth century. The hotel is surrounded by a 6.5-hectare park and relaxing lake views.

Lake Comabbio

Some historians believed that the villa was built on an ancient castle whose traces remain in the main hall, which corresponds to a castle hall that would have been preserved despite the transformations that took place. The recent restoration, which thoroughly researched the materials used in the construction, however, did not find solid evidence that could support this hypothesis, but royal treatment is certainly guaranteed.

villa Borghi

The current appearance of the villas can be attributed to the restoration carried out by the Milan architect Paolo Cesa Bianchi between 1860 and 1879. Already at the entrance of the palace you will be enchanted by an elegant marble staircase leading to the upper floor from which through the atrium, bordered by a wrought iron fence, you can see the atrium, which thus develops in height on two levels. The large extension of the villa consists of a series of rooms, lounges, a library leading to a large park, partly built in the English style,with a touch of romance, ideal for expressing the social prestige that the family has achieved. All the halls were decorated by the Varese artist Pietro Michis.

The beauty of this palace, apart from in appearance, is also in its offer. In addition to a relaxing view of the endless lake that becomes a real magic during each sunset, you can also relax in the wellness of the villa, or in the summer months in the outdoor pool.

The outdoor pool blends in perfectly with the green English grass, with palm trees giving it a slightly exotic look. The wellness area offers everything you need to relax, and an elevator and warm corridors lead you from the room to the wellness center, so you can walk freely from the room in the bathrobe and indulge in the charms of saunas, massages and swimming pools.

To make the offer complete, right next to the villa, there is the Scuderia restaurant, which will satisfy all lovers of Italian cuisine. The name comes from the word stable since it is truly a remodeled barn area where horses once lived. No worries, all that remains of this word is the rustic flair of a superbly decorated restaurant in which each guest is approached with special hospitality.

During the day, in addition to enjoying the wellness and pool, you can stretch out for a walk around the nearby lake and relax your thoughts with the endless blue and green colors that alternate in this picturesque landscape.

As Milan is truly at your fingertips, if you head to Varano on Friday, you get to reset yourself by Sunday and return to the city streets with the inevitable aperitivo or a walk through the Parco Sempione.

San Pellegrino, bubbles that will make you sparkle

Apart from being known for its sparkling water, the town of San Pellegrino is a real small thermal paradise where you can relax your body and soul, and for centuries many aristocracies and celebrities have found their luxurious vacation there.

San Pellegrino

The world-famous name San Pellegrino everyone today will associate with water that has 120 years of symbols of quality, an international icon of taste and elegance. This amazing story, which combines elements of design, tradition and taste, begins in the Alps in the town of the same name.

San Pellegrino factory, source: SanPellegrino official

Cesare Mazzoni, a lawyer from Milan, founded the Società Anonima delle Terme di S. Pellegrino later San Pellegrino, then it was listed on the Milan Stock Exchange. During the following year (1900), 35.343 bottles of S. Pellegrino mineral water were produced, of which 5.562 were shipped abroad, and this is where the whole story begins. Today, 1 billion bottles of S.Pellegrino mineral water and Sanpellegrino sparkling fruit drinks are sold worldwide in one year.

Originally, S. Pellegrino water was bottled without carbonation, but when the company began shipping water, they added natural carbonation to preserve the minerals. Customers loved the taste of carbonated water so much, the company stopped selling the non-carbonated version.

Terme before, source: SanPellegrino official

Apart from mineral water, this small town is also known for its spas. The first spas were opened, in the first half of the 19th century, by two families: Palazzolo and Salaroli. The old “spas” are now used as a space for temporary exhibitions, and are called “le vecchie terme”. The new baths, in fact the spa, were inaugurated, in a building next to the Casino, in 2006 by the Percassi family. The same family completely restructured the Casino, which was always owned by the municipality of San Pellegrino, but the management is in the hands of the Percassi family for about another 25 years. Since the opening of the baths, the city of San Pellegrino has become a famous health resort enjoyed by half of the European aristocracy.

Terme today, source: QC Terme official page

One of the most beautiful spas in Italy are certainly the QC spas located in several locations in Italy, and these in San Pellegrino will enchant you with their luxury and architecture that perfectly suit this natural environment.

Long time before, wealthy visitors would sleep in the Grand Hotel, by the Brembo River, when they arrived in the city, and in addition to enjoying the spa, the main entertainment was gambling at the Casino. The imposing Grand Hotel, of Art Nouveau construction, has only been partially renovated, as the costs are very high. The casino definitely closed in 1946, and the Grand Hotel in 1979. Of the many visitors from all over Europe, we will list just a few – Queen Margherita di Savoia, Queen Elena, Prince Umberto and Princess Maria, Italian composer Mascagni, General Luigi Cadorna, members of the Russian Zar family, artistic director Federico Fellini and his wife and actress Giulietta Masina , actors such as Ugo Tognazzi and Ornella Muti, the famous Italian singer Adriano Celentano and many others.

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Terme – Casino; source: QC Terme official page

Beside S. Pellegrino Terme are the Grand Hotel, other attractions are the promenade in the city center, the old funicular that leads to a place called Vetta, 650 meters above sea level, and the recently renovated Tempio dei Caduti.

When you relax in the spa, I recommend a night walk along the Brembo River, which will additionally recharge your batteries. From the nightlife you will find bars along the promenade, which are also ideal for a morning coffee with a glass, of course, of S. Pellegrino.

San Pellegrino

If you are traveling with a child (up to 14 years old) you will not be allowed to enter the Spa QC Terme, so I would recommend that you stay at the nearby luxury hotel Piajo Relax Hotel, which will meet all your expectations. It is located on a hill overlooking Bergamo, blended into the perfection of the nature that surrounds it so relaxation is guaranteed. The spa offers a swimming pool, indoor and outdoor, and the wellness area consists of a panoramic sauna, several baths and relax rooms and showers. The hotel also offers a restaurant that will satisfy even the most demanding gourmand as it offers a fusion of local gastronomic offerings served at the level of Michelin restaurants.

Piajo Relax hotel

If the road takes you to Lombardy, don’t miss to visit this small thermal paradise to recharge your batteries.

Under the Tuscan sun followed by turquoise colors of the sea and white sand beaches

Tuscany, place where, beside romantic hills and medieval cities, you can enjoy white beaches and turqoise sea

Volterra

Many are already familiar with the saying “under the sun of Tuscany” which came from the famous book of the same name. The first association in memory of Tuscany are, definitely, green hills, medieval towns, cute Italian villas with pool. But it is less known that when you visit Tuscany you can also refresh yourself on the white beaches of this irresistible region with a view of the turquoise sea, almost like the Maldives.

Rosignano Solvay, Toscana

As we are located in Milan, a visit to Tuscany is ideal for an extended weekend of 3-4 days. From Milan to the Tuscan coast takes only 3 hours by car, and from Zagreb you will need about 7 hours drive. We chose the small town of Vada which is known for its white beaches – Spiagge Bianche. This part of Italy is full of beautiful accommodation that you will find hard to resist – sweetly decorated villas in the Italian style, blended into the romantic nature, certainly deserve to be on your bucket list. The prices of such idyllic nights are affordable, ranging from € 100 for two people (bed and breakfast) and more.

Our priority for the weekend was the beach and the sea, and our accommodation was about 10 minutes by car from several beaches with white sand and turquoise sea. The good thing is that you have the option to choose between wild beaches, where you have to stock up with your umbrella, towel and some refreshment, and you can also choose private beaches that are fully equipped with deck chairs, umbrellas, showers and offer food and drinks in beach bars. For 2 deck chairs and an umbrella you will pay approximately 20 € for the whole day.

When you are in Tuscany, beside the beautiful nature, you should enjoy the famous “aperitivo” served from 4 to 8 PM, the excellent food offer and, of course, the offer of various wines, of which, for this region, the most famous is Chianti. Villa Graziani, where we were accommodated, in its vicinity also has its own restaurant and enoteca Graziani. If you find yourself nearby, be sure to try their Italian delicacies and wines, you won’t go wrong. Prices range from 8 € for the first piato to 18 € for the second piato, but considering the portions, one of the two will be enough.

When you are already on the Tuscan coast I recommend a trip to one of the many medieval towns on the nearby hills. You’ve probably already visited Florence, Siena, San Gimignano, Lucca, if you haven’t, they’re all an hour from the coast. We chose the not-so-famous but spectacular Volterra. One morning or afternoon is enough for this trip because it is only 45 minutes away from Vada.

Volterra

This small stone town is located at over 530 m above sea level, and will delight you with its beautiful streets, imposing walls, small shops and cafes that entice with their fantastic shop windows behind which you can see the effort, work and love for what they do and offer, full is of charming detail, and the view that extends from it is simply breathtaking.

Handcraft jewllery

Fortress Medice is the most common motif from Volterra, and in the photographs it looks so powerful, imposing, that taking photos with a view of the fort is an indispensable part of the visit. Located on a dominant hill fort embraced the small town like in a fairytale. Unlike many other medieval ones, the fort here has been completely preserved, the same as it was in 1474, when Lorenzo de ‘Medici the Magnificent, the then ruler of the Republic of Florence, completed the construction of another part, called the New Fortress.

One of the entrance to Volterra

Fans of archeological remains will love the place because there are several great archeological sites. The most visited is the imposing Roman amphitheater on the edge of town, excavated some sixty years ago. It was built at the end of the 1st century BC, and the ideal terrain was chosen, so that about 3,500 people could sit on the “stands”. It is even known that the construction was financed by members of the wealthy Ceacin family, mostly consuls Gaj and Aula, about which records were found on one of the preserved pillars. Every year, the international festival “Ombra della Sera” is held on a huge plateau, founded by the famous actor Simone Migliorini.

Teatro Romano, Volterra

Another record of the contstructors of the amphitheater has been preserved, in the Guarnacci Museum, in the city itself, in the Tangassi Palace. It is one of the most famous Etruscan museums in the world and one of the oldest museums in all of Europe, founded in 1776.

Palazzo dei Priori, Volterra

Recently, Volterra has been celebrated by the film Twilight Saga, whose plot is located in this small town at one point.

On the way back to Vada, have a snack in one of the many agritourisms that you can find on the way, and in addition to the gastronomic offer, almost everyone will delight you with its home decor and the view. If you like it and want to stay another day in Volterra I recommend Borgo Pignano. You will definitely need a few more days to indulge in this irresistible blend of luxury for the eyes, soul and taste.

La Subida, Cormons, combination of untouched nature, modern design and homemade cuisine with the award-winning Michelin star

Just when I thought there is a lack of interesting weekend places to see I discovered this little surprise. I am glad that I visited this rustic estate with a Michelin starred in the autumn, when the whole nature is painted with autumn tones, the sun, the scents of chestnuts and the irresistible taste of wine, from the well-known Collio region. But I believe that this place is a great to visit at any season.

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Weekend in Italian style that you will want to repeat

Castello di Spessa

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The idea for ​​an extended weekend across borders for those who do not like plane and to travel far

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Arcugnano

The escape from everyday life in the Renaissance Paladio style villa, on Italian hills with a spectacular view of the azure sky and olive groves. No, it’s not a fictional story, but a real place you can get next weekend because it’s just 4 and a half hours drive from Zagreb.

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