Is this Europe's most lavish holiday rental? Inside the £6,000-a-night 16th-century treasure-trove villa known as 'the pearl of Lake Como'

  • The Villa Sola Cabiati on the banks of Lake Como is filled with antique furnishings and original Renaissance art
  • It also includes a bed that was once owned by Napoleon and incredible silk dresses belonging to his lovers
  • A stay at the villa costs £6,000 a night for a minimum of three nights and comes with a butler and a chef

There can be few holiday villas anywhere in Europe as opulent as this, as these stunning images show.

Villa Sola Cabiati, which is part of the Grand Hotel Tremezzo, is now available to well-heeled holidaymakers, who will need to find over £18,000 to stay there - because it costs £6,000 a night (plus VAT) and there's a minimum stay of three nights.

The villa, which dates back the 1500s, is known as the 'pearl of Lake Como' and is described as a living treasure trove of antique furnishings and original art by Renaissance painters. Guests staying at the breath-taking period property have a dedicated butler and a chef at their disposal to cater for their every whim.

But despite its history, Villa Sol Cabiati also has modern touches such as Bluetooth music systems, a hidden swimming pool and the seamless service of a five-star hotel.

However, the jewel in the villa's crown is the private museum floor, which offers guests unrivalled and unique up-close access to a selection of historic artefacts.

These include a bed belonging to Napoleon, a friend of the Serbelloni family who used to own the villa, as well as incredible silk dresses belonging to his lovers.

The Serbelloni coat of arms still decks the villa façade while the motto engraved above the entrance, 'villulae quietem', which means the stillness of a small villa, evokes the days of total tranquillity from when the building was the family's summer residence.

The villa has been available to use in the past - for magazine shoots for example - but earlier this year it was given a refresh and is now being offered as a minimum three-night stay for guests of the Grand Hotel Tremezzo.

The re-opening of the Villa Sola Cabiata is part of a wave of new openings on Lake Como that are turning formerly private historic homes into luxury places to stay.

The Casta Diva Resort and Spa has recently renovated Roccabruna Villa, the former home of soprano Giudita Pasta and where the composer Vincenzo Bellini wrote two of his most famous works, La Somnambula and Norma.

While Relais Ronco dell'Abate opened recently in Como, a historical villa where the important Italian politician and intellectual Gianfranco Miglio took refuge when he was alive, with intact library and original furnishings and four guestrooms.

Meanwhile, Sotheby's has just launched 'Retreats' - a luxury rental division that lists stunning historical plays to stay, including by Lake Como. Some of them come with a private Michelin-star chef and helicopter transfers.

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