When it was first constructed in the 1500s, the Villa d'Este on Lake Como served as resort for ecclesiastical leaders and local politicians. A few renovations and centuries later, the palatial complex hosted glamorous celebrities and was even the site of an infamous murder.
Though the villa started out as a sort of spiritual resort center, it became a private residence in 1815 when Caroline of Brunswick moved in shortly after separating from King George IV. Decades after her death, the villa became a proper hotel open to the public . . . the very wealthy public, that is. During the Golden Age of Hollywood, celebrities like Bette Davis and Clark Gable vacationed there. Alfred Hitchcock was particularly fond of the villa and visited many times throughout his lifetime.
Around this same time, a notorious murder took place inside of the villa. In 1948, Pia Bellentani shot her lover Carlo Sacchi after he had continued to see other women. The murder took place right after a fashion show that was being held at the villa that evening. Despite the grisly incident, the Villa d'Este continued being an aspirational travel destination and still hosts many celebrities and fashion insiders.
A night's stay does not come cheap: a room can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000 dollars. According to many reviews on Trip Advisor, however, tourists can still stop by the villa for a lakeside lunch or a walk through the gardens.
Ahead, you'll find pictures of the timeless and over-the-top estate.