Situated between Il Dosso di Lavedo and the Comacine Island, villa Il Balbiano in Ossucio is one of the most important historical mansions to be found on the shores of Lake Como. 

Ownership of the villa can be traced back to the prestigious household of the Giovio family who had used it as their residence. However, in 1537, in a detailed description of the property, the famous historian, humanist and physician Paolo Giovio describes the magnificence of the family estate as having been allowed to fall into ruin.

About a century later, in 1637, Abbot Marco Gallio embarked on a radical restoration of the property, altering the design of the main façade and enhancing it with lavishly decorated portals and adding a second floor. Unfortunately, he died a year later and the project was continued by his heir, Carlo and finally completed in 1680 by Marquis Giacomo Gallio. Internally, the rooms were decorated with splendid stuccos by Agostino Silva and frescoes by the Recchi brothers.

It was Count Giovani Battista Giovio, a descendent of the original owners who, in 1778 bought back Il Balbiano and renovated it further, adding more frescoes by Giuseppe Porro and Giovani Antonio Torricelli.

In 1787 Cardinal Angelo Maria Durini, a great collector and patron of arts, acquired the villa, which became a meeting place for the nobility and high society of the time. Among the most prominent visitors and literati were the poets Giuseppe Parini, Pietro Verri and Domenico Balestrieri.

Following the death of Cardinal Durini, the villa changed hands several times. Among those who left their mark were the Swiss industrialist Gustav Solomon Geissner in 1872 and the present owner who commissioned the outstanding designer Jacques Garcia to modernize the property.