In the commune of Lenno overlooking Lake Como sits the Villa del Balbianello. Sitting on the small wooded peninsula on the south west branch of Lake Como, not far from Isola Comacina, the villa which is famous for its elaborate terraced gardens, sits in all its glory. Villa del Balbianello was built in 1787 for the cardinal Angelo Maria Durini. Two towers stand to attention on the left side of the villa and are the bell towers for the convent church. After improvements over time and a past which once seen it fall into total neglect, is was purchased by an American military officer Butler Ames and renovated. Guido Monzino then purchased it and filled it with rich collections. When he died in 1988 he left the villa to Fondo per l’Ambiente Italiano, the National Trust of Italy. Its grounds now form part of the Grandi Giardini Italiani.
West of Trentino and Veneto is Lombardy. Cattle are reared on the plains in the central and southern parts of the region and so meat features more in the dishes here, especially veal, a good example being “Ossobuco alla Milanese”. It is hardly surprising that risotto is one of the main dishes of Lombardy as rice grows so well in this region of Italy and rather than pasta, rice is the staple food of Lombardy. Cheese is also a major part of the cuisine of Lombardy and there are several excellent cheeses produced in the area.
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