Lovely family Villa located in Oltrona S. Mamette, near lake Como. Sleeps 10
- english, french, spanish, italian
About Francesca Nelson-Smith
I am Italian and grew up in this house. I now live in London with my husband and 3 children and we use the house for family holidays. We all love it because it is comfortable, close to Milan for shopping (and culture :)) and to the lake for fantastic days out but it's also always quiet in the evenings when we come back and have a drink in front of the fire or out on the veranda, depending on the season.
Francesca Nelson-Smith purchased this Villa in 1960
Why Francesca Nelson-Smith chose Oltrona di San Mamette
The house was built by my dad, who was an architect, for his family, on a hill that belongs to my mother's family. He designed 3 different houses and she chose the one that was built. They then decorated it together and as we grew up, we added bits too, so it really feels like a home, not just a house. It is on top of a hill, with magnificent views of the Parco del Ticino (a beautiful forest) all the way to the Alps, with not a single house to be seen in between. It has a pool in the garden that has been recently built to substitute the use of one we shared with other families on the other side of the hill. If I had not inherited it and i saw it I would definitely dream of buying it.
What makes this Villa unique
The great thing about il Ronco is that it is so well located for getting to and from Malpensa airport (40 minutes drive), shopping and sightseeing in Milan (30 minutes), lake Como (20 minutes), 4 golf courses (all within 30 minutes drive), riding in the village next door, swimming within the property and at the same time you are guaranteed complete peace if you just want to sit in the garden and read a book or have a drink whilst watching the sun go down behind the Alps. The only interruption would be the sound of a cuckoo bird or a squirrel running from one tree to the next.
Check-in: 5:00 pm
Check-out: 11:00 am
Minimum age of primary renter:30
Max guests:10 (sleeps up to 9 adults)
No wet shoes/feet in living room
Up to two cots available for small children but we need to know in advance
Please do not take house towels to the pool
100% refund if cancelled at least 30 days before arrival date. 50% refund if cancelled at least 14 days before arrival date.
Great Villa. Very peaceful and relaxing.
We had a great 4 night stay at this incredible villa - we wish we could have stayed longer. We loved the old world charm, history of the home and the entire Ronco complex. I was especially impressed with how well the home we built with all of the fine wood and stone work, and all the storage that was built into the house. Very well designed!! You can tell that Francesca's father was an architect.
All the advanced communications with Francesca were great. She answered all our questions and gave us perfect directions to find the villa. Virgillo was great as well. He met us at 5 pm when we arrived and told us all that we needed to know about the villa. He helped us find the nearest grocery store and train station for your excursions into Milan. He and his wife even graciously offered to wash some of our clothes for us which was an unexpected, but much needed treat, as we had been traveling through Europe for 3 weeks.
We loved the peaceful surroundings, sitting on the veranda overlooking the well manicured lawn and trees, enjoying some fine Italian wines. It was also a great location for our visits to Milan (by train) and Lake Como (by car). Both very easy. Our only disappointment was not being able to take advantage of the pool and tennis courts, only because of our short stay and desire to see the surrounding area. We will save that for our next visit to Ronco. Thanks again to Francesca and Virgillo.
I'm so delighted you had a lovely time at out house and we do look forward to seeing you again. For your information, we are building a new pool much closer to the house so next time you come you'll be able to enjoy it at whatever time you come back from your day trips!
Italy, weddings and family fun
We had a wonderful family stay at this property. The home is beautiful and lovingly cared for. We had a chef prepared dinner by Marco which was one of the highlights of the trip for us. Virgilio the caretaker was always available to answer any questions we had and made sure we had everything we needed. This home is spacious and full of old world charm.
Probably, the only hard thing for us to adjust to were the bathrooms with only a hand held shower in a tub. We are not used to it in our homes so we had a few water cleanups. But we figured it out and carried on.
The home is located with easy short drives to lake Lugano and Como and to our nieces wedding in Varese so we were very busy during our time there.
Dear Elizabeth, we are delighted you enjoyed your stay. We are planning on putting a new shower in that bathroom so hopefully you'll enjoy your next stay even more! :) With best regards, Francesca
The property was set in a quiet location which was lovely. The villa was old, however, in many ways. Old bedding (mattresses, pillows, towels, furniture,) no screens or air conditioning. Many gates to navigate and doors to lock in getting in and out, to pool, etc.
The pool was shared by far more than 10 families. On several nights, there were loud parties attended by young adults, with lots of alcohol, loud music, etc. Not what was advertised by owner.
Property manager was helpful, but new to the job and did not know a lot about the area. He did try hard.
I am really mortified that you had a disappointing experience. I am not sure what went wrong as the house is indeed decorated with antique furniture, as shown in the pictures, but I bought new bedding and towels only last year so they really are not old. The need for various keys to access the pool cannot be helped but I have done my best to label them as clearly as possible.
I am not sure what you mean about young people partying and drinking as there were none staying in any of my family’s nearby houses when you were here. There might have been ‘ferragosto’ celebrations in the village, which is an Italian tradition, but the noise at the house should not have been too loud. Anyway, I can only apologise for your inconvenience and suggest that perhaps you come back in early or late summer when the village revellers are not out.
With best regards,
Great retreat for seeing Northern Italy!
We had a fantastic week at this villa early July 2019. Communication in advance with Francesca was great and she answered all our questions and put our mind at ease. Check in was awesome - our flight was delayed and then we spent nearly 2 hours at the airport trying to get the hire car sorted out! To say they were moving at snails pace is an understatement! I was worried that by the time we arrived Virgillo would have gone to bed. Thankfully he waited up for us and made sure we knew where the basics were.
Throughout the week I was concerned that his presence would overwhelm our tranquil stay but he was just the right mix of available but not in your face! Anything we needed was no trouble and he and his wife and daughters were incredibly pleasant! His daughters even helped us buy train tickets the day that we were going into Milan! Can't say enough good things about how helpful they all were!
When we arrived in Milan there was a heat wave so I was glad the master had air conditioning. It wasn't as good as we were used to but certainly better than nothing. The spiral staircase up to the master was quite tight and I would hate to have had to take heavy luggage up there. That said it was great for my hubby and I to be away from the rest of the family so a small detail.
The kitchen was well equipped and there was everything you could possibly need. We had Marco come and cook for / with us one night and that was so much fun. The food was great and we got some great tips. We also found some great local restaurants which had really high quality food and so on a night we didn't need to venture far.
The pool area is great - although if you are taking a bit of stuff with you like we did driving round is definitely easier than walking. The walk itself is easy and not that far (less than 10 minutes) but with towels, picnic etc not quite that easy. There is plenty of car parking near to the pool so much easier just to make the drive.
If I had to think of one area to improve it would be the directions on how to get there. We arrived at night and it was late so there were none of the usual landmarks visible that are mentioned in the directions. I wish we had the full postal address so we could have just plugged it into the navigation / Waze! A minor detail once we had found the place.
In all we had a really great time and I would love it go back. Its tranquil but a great base for exploring Milan, Como and the surrounding area!
we are delighted you had a nice holiday as that's what the house is meant for :). Thank you for the tip about the directions, I will make sure I give future guests the full address! have a lovely rest of the summer and we hope to have you visit again soon. With best regards, Francesca
Great location. Marco is a superstar.
Great location. Not too far from Lake Como but having a car is a necessity to get around the area. Property is beautiful and we enjoyed the clubhouse/pool amenity. Virgilio was extremely helpful and did everything he could to make our stay as comfortable as possible. The only room in the house with air conditioning was the master (which was 2 twin beds pushed together) and I imagine the heat is not an issue most of the year but the middle of June was a bit warm so fans were necessary to keep the air moving. Virgilio was extremely attentive and provided fans for each room upon request. The real highlight of staying at the Villa was having Marco prepare dinner for us. We were a group of 9 and several of the kids have severe food allergies. Marco prepared delicious homemade meals paired perfectly with appropriate wines that were safe for everyone in our party. The meals were incredible and our only regret was, for fear of the danger of life threatening food allergies, not trying some of his deserts which we came to learn were his specialities. Based on the dinner courses he prepared for us, we could only imagine how incredible his deserts must have been. We really enjoyed getting to know Marco and he was a perfect introduction to a true Italian native as it was our first time in Italy. The house was spacious and had plenty of room for our group. I would highly recommend taking the plunge and splurging on home cooked meals with Marco. It made the house a home for us.
Dear Julie and John,
I am so delighted you had a good time at Ronco and that you felt at home there. As you know, this house is very much a home to us and we are really happy when our guests share the feeling. I hope that this first trip to Italy will be the first of a long series.
With warm regards,
Peaceful and relaxing and very comfortable
The villa is clearly a much loved home. Surrounded by lawns and trees, it is a peaceful place to unwind and enjoy cooking or being cooked for (thank you to Marco). There is a short walk to the pool under chestnut trees. We swam in the huge pool and played tennis. Easy access to Como and the lake and also not far from Milan and it’s airport. Thank you Francesca and family.
Dear Julie, I am delighted you enjoyed your stay and appreciated the house for what it is: a well loved home. We look forward to hosting you again in the future.
With warm regards,
Milan Malpensa Airport, 41 Km, about 30 minutes drive.
Milan Linate Airport 60 Km, about 50 minutes drive.
The caretaker can pick up a maximum of 4 people from the airport upon request.
If you have more people you will need to hire a car, if not the caretaker can also take you to the nearest station to go to Milan, which is 8 km away or to the bus stop in the village for the bus to Como.
The village is only a few minutes’ walk at the bottom of the hill and has a bar, a bakery, a vegetable shop, a post office, a restaurant and a general store.
The nearest bigger village Appiano Gentile - where Inter Milan train! - is 3 Km away, and has various supermarkets, restaurants etc.
The nearest town is Como, 17 Km away.
One of the must do for your holiday is to go and have a drink at the Villa d'Este hotel in Cernobbio. It is a 20 minutes drive from home and the most expensive cocktail you'll ever have, probably, but the Villa is fabulous, the lake view breathtaking and the delicious and generous snacks they bring you with your always perfect drink mean that you won't need any dinner.
In Como you can hop on a modern small ferry or in an old wheel ferry and do a tour of the lake. There are dozens of amazing villas to see, mostly you will be told about George Clooney's property or Gucci's, but ask your driver to show you the villa of Pliny the Younger, the oldest on the shores, and the beautiful villa del Balbianello.
In Milan, go to Brera, there is the most beautiful Mantegna painting of the deposed Christ, among lots of other paintings, and then walk along Via Brera until you get to Piazza della Scala and through the Galleria into Piazza del Duomo. It is a lovely walk and you will see some of the best bits of Milan. In Brera there is a Bar called Bar Giamaica which used to be the artists' meeting place. It's still a fun place to go to, quite scruffily unitalian and fun.
For families with children, there are a number of Theme parks in the area, from tree climbing and walking to the famous California Water Park, just across the border in Chiasso (20 min drive) to name just a couple.