PaperCity Magazine

PaperCity Houston Jan_Feb 2023

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Page 45 of 67

T he legend of the baroque beauty and rapturous Renaissance style of the new 24-suite Passalacqua hotel on Lake Como precedes one's arrival to the ultra- glamorous destination. The legendary home of Napoleon Bonaparte, Winston Churchill, and opera composer Vincenzo Bellini, Passalacqua has been praised in poetry, music, and art for centuries. After a one-hour drive through foothills northeast of Milan and a fast curve through the pretty village of Moltrasio, guests arrive through an ancient stone archway into a seven–acre estate framed by cedars, statuesque magnolias, and glittering fountains. Dramatic mountains frame the scene, with mysterious Lake Como in the hazy distance. The De Santis family acquired this former residence in 2017 and spent four years turning it into an ultra- luxe hotel governed by their tradition of hospitality, opening the doors in 2022. Valentina De Santis and her parents, Antonella and Paolo De Santis, hired San Francisco interior designer Pamela Babey of BAMO to create an authentic residential feeling — like that of staying at the villa of a super-stylish Italian friend. Babey is admired in Italy for her polished transformation of Villa Feltrinelli on Lake Garda. Working closely with Valentina, she and colleague Steve Henry leveraged their extensive Italian contacts and crafts specialists for bespoke Fortuny silk lanterns, Barovier & Toso chandeliers and sconces, and Rubelli document silks that enhance domed ceilings, frescoed walls, and acres of Breccia Pontificia marble. Extravagant curtains, lined and interlined, are made from silk taffetas sourced at centuries-old mills in Como. In one of the grand junior suites, periwinkle-blue damask curtains dramatically frame lake views. Sofas have linen slipcovers dressed in petticoats of inverted pleats, while voluptuous armchairs with floral chintz are finished with golden fringe. Rubelli wove brocades and jacquards in distinctive custom color palettes for each interior space, tying in painterly colors of the classical frescoes of the Villa. The De Santis family traveled throughout Northern Italy perusing antique galleries, markets, and auction houses to source furniture, precious prints and artwork, and vintage carpets that project character, from the grand Italian style of the Villa to the more laidback comfort of the garden- The Baroque Splendor of the New Passalacqua on Lake Como By Diane Dorrans Saeks Detail of a suite in the villa STEFAN GIFTTHALER 44

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