While a little off the beaten path, the quality of this relatively new (about six years old) family-friendly villa perched on the side of a mountain more than makes up for the expedition to get there (a half-mile of hairpin turns off the main S340d road). The attractive A-frame villa has a combination stucco-and-stone exterior, plenty of parking. The villa contains a large, high ceilinged living room-dining room-kitchen for family socializing and entertaining. Large double doors off this living space open up to the back yard patio with plenty of furniture for everyone to eat outdoors or sunbathe, a swimming pool, surrounded by spectacular views of the lake and mountains (we didn't use the two grills). The kitchen is sleek and modern (go to the Conad grocery store and the bakery in Menaggio for provisions, about a five-mile drive). The five bedrooms are very functional, the two bedrooms on the second floor are very roomy, extra blankets, floor fans, all accommodating nine comfortably if not luxuriously (a spare mattress is in the basement). Bathrooms are well-appointed with modern fixtures, two on the ground floor and one off the master bedroom (and a spare in the basement). The balcony on the first floor runs the entire length of the villa exterior, and with tables and chairs enough for all three ground-floor bedrooms, you can eat breakfast and drink coffee just outside your bedroom through door-sized windows, a nice touch. A front-loading washing machine and clothes line mean you can pack fewer clothes. WiFi works but is a little slow and could not accommodate more than two devices. Cable TV (I think) with VCR and large collection of DVDs, board games for children, books, foosball and pool table in the basement.
There are some quirks worth mentioning, all minor. There is no air conditioning nor window screens (just lockable storm shutters) but this is completely normal for the area, part of the charm. Lake Como is a little buggy, mosquitos don't come out until the evening but aren't oppressive. You will want to bring (or buy) laundry detergent and toilet paper. If you've never operated a front-load washing machine, have fun, although a laminated house help sheet is taped to the front door to translate the Italian labels. There were also not enough plug adaptors (the owners are apparently British, all appliances have UK plugs). The toaster works but has to be played with, the coffee maker works just fine. The villa managers advised we drink bottled water so buy plenty (although my wife drank the tap water and felt no ill consequences). You will have to take out your own garbage, everyone else in the neighborhood has to (receptacles up and down the mountain, along with recycling). You will also wake up to the sound of roosters crowing and sheep baa-ing!
The immediate neighborhood can be best described as mountain-side country, hairpin turns punctuated by residential villages (which can be explored through very narrow, charming stone walkways), some very old, lots of well-worked gardens with olive trees and grape vines, the occasional chicken coop and sheep flock (and goat cheese farm, follow the signs), 400-year-old chapels, a trickling stream with several small waterfalls. The high mountains are all forested. Good roadside hiking but, with the exception of the goat cheese farm, no shops (one café in San Martino). Down the mountain, there is the ancient cobbled lakeside village of Rezzonico by the castle, good for a romantic walk (ferry does not stop there). In a pinch (meaning you prefer to walk to a restaurant instead of driving for miles), I recommend the Ristorante Lauro. There apparently is also a good pizzeria, just around the corner from Lauro. We did not try the wine bar halfway between the main road and the villa, you are on your own, there.
All-in-all, this new villa is very good, almost (if not quite) luxurious, the setting absolutely breathtaking. Guestbook is full of complements from mostly British customers and their families (which is a complement in itself). On-line photos of the villa are accurate. We very much enjoyed our stay. While the driving anywhere around Lake Como is not for the faint-of-heart, don't let it prevent you from considering the Villa Louise.