Who we are

We are a family, Alessandra, Davide, Luca and Andrea, and together we have decided to revive the ancient house of grandmother Zizi in the center of old Cernobbio. Together we had fun renovating it, discovering and enhancing the original architectural elements and combining them with functional and modern furnishings. Luca and I took charge of the management of the apartments, assisted by Andrea, a valid substitute in case of need. Davide has taken charge of making the courtyard, onto which all five apartments overlook, a pleasant corner, green and flowery, where our guests can enjoy a moment of relaxation, or have breakfast or dinner outdoors. Together we have discovered the pleasure of ‘hosting’ and interacting with people from all over the world, trying to make them feel at home and helping them to enjoy their stay and our beautiful lake to the fullest. Indeed, this was often an opportunity to rediscover our territory, initiatives and itineraries in turn.


The word “Corte” translates to “Court” in English. “Corte”, since it was an old court-house, an old staging post where men used to stop to rest with their horses: the arch at the entrance with the kerbstone recalls the ancient coaches, the fountain, the original trough. The Court is the part of the holiday house I love the most, since it better describes and characterizes the experience to be lived in our apartments, all facing the court: a true holiday experience, whether it is a short stay, a part of a bigger tour or just a stopover on your journey to or from Centre or Southern Italy. Here we go, back in time: a staging post again, but the stay can be way more relaxing. It is an enclave in the historical city centre, a peaceful and flowery corner where our guests can sit and enjoy a glass of wine in the evening, have breakfast with the kids in the morning, share a common area with their friends or just relax, chat, or pick rosemary and basil to use in their kitchen. There are a lot of tourists and passers-by that, walking around in Cernobbio, come inside the Court and take many pictures of our “vertical garden”. We really enjoy chatting with those who enter the Court, we like to show our house and, to be honest, we take pride in seeing them taking a photograph of a special detail and we are even happier when they compliment us or ask if they can “stole” an idea from us for their garden or terrace.

Zizi, because…

Because it was the nickname I used as a child to call my grandmother on my father’s side, born and raised in Cernobbio, who left me this house, which she inherited from his dad, grand-grandfather Carlo.

Giving the holiday house her name is my way to thank and honor her.

Grandmother Zizi and Grandfather Alfredo owned a hairdressing salon/perfumery inside the famous “Grand Hotel Villa d’Este”, a smaller one in Cernobbio Main Street, the so-called “Strettoia” (“Bottleneck” in English), and a third one inside the Sanremo “Grand Hotel Royal”. They used to spend the six summer months in Cernobbio and the six winter months in Liguria, in Sanremo.

In these prestigious hotels, they had the chance to meet the leading figures of the 20thCentury, famous actors and directors, politicians and athletes, who, just as it happens today, chose Villa d’Este as the perfect annual destination for a relaxing and discreet stay.

Long before George Clooney, to whom much is owed for advertising our lake, before Robert De Niro and Brad Pitt, Hitchcock was a regular guest of Villa d’Este. I happen to be the lucky recipient of one of his autograph, which includes the famous profile line that marked many of its productions.

Grandma Zizi told me a lot of curious stories and among the pictures taken over the years there are several photos of famous celebrities and movie stars. In particular, one portrays Silvana Pampanini, with a special dedication to my grandmother; another one portrays Rita Hayworth, here captured on the staircase to the lake in front of Villa d’Este.

But way ahead of actors and VIPs, in the 19thCentury Lake Como used to be a “must-stop” of the aristocratic and cultural Grand Tour that brought artists and intellectual to Italy.

Stendhal, in his novel La Chartreuse de Parme, wrote this well-known passage:

“Nothing in the universe can be compared to the charm of these feverish summer days spent on this lake […] the Lake Como, so voluptuous, which proceeds towards Lecco with such austerity: such sublime and beautiful features”.

The American writer Mark Twain, in his The Innocents Abroad describes Lake Como as

“a paradise of tranquil repose”,

while English poet Shelley writes

“This lake exceeds anything I ever beheld in beauty”.

On Lake Como shores there is always the chance to have interesting encounters and come across celebrities, such as the above-mentioned George Clooney, as one of our guests writes in his nice review:

“Luca’s property is absolutely lovely, clean and well appointed, the stairs are steep so no good if you are unfit or scared of heights, luckily we are neither of these, the apartment is very well placed and near to restaurants and the waterfront, it is also near the local church, so you have to get used to the bells, but I have found that one of the endearing qualities of the property, you really feel immersed in local Italian life, also on our last night we were having a meal at Harry’s Bar (Which is just around the corner from Luca’s apartment) when we bumped into George Clooney and his Wife who had gone there for dinner, which was definitely a high point of our stay! I would highly recommend Luca’s property and Cernobbio and Lake Como, in general, it is just beautiful I do not think you can get bored of looking out over the lake, and mountains, thank you again Luca for being such a great host. Best regards, James”. I would highly recommend Luca’s property and Cernobbio and Lake Como in general it is just beautiful I do not think you can get bored of looking out over the lake, and mountains, thank you again Luca for being such a great host.

Best regards, James.

Cernobbio, because…

I was born and raised in Cernobbio, just like my grandmother Zizi. We stay here and … the world visits us, and it is wonderful to meet so many people from all over the globe. Over the years I have seen it transform, change: the old stores in the ‘bottleneck’ have given way to new boutiques, cafes, wine bars. The most profound change has been in the historic center, right where our rental apartments are located. Like all European city centers it has been rediscovered since the 1980s: the old houses have regained their charm, as has the proximity to the lake. Even the narrow alleys resumed telling their own story that justified the perhaps somewhat difficult search for a parking space. It was the working-class area, the ‘Castle,’ with the railing houses and perhaps the bathroom on the balcony. Now all the houses have been renovated, bars and restaurants have proliferated, and a tourist vocation is being rediscovered; the church of St. Vincent, very close to our vacation homes and the lake, is very popular for VIP weddings.