If I won the lottery….Albergo Milano, Brunate

2 03 2013

If I won the lottery, this is what I would buy…

albergo milano in flames

High above Lake Como, perched on the top of a mountain by the funicular railway, sits an abandoned hotel. This imposing building has a majestic vantage point, overlooking the town of Como, the lake, and across the mountains and valleys into the distance.

The line up the hill is the funicular railway, below



The hotel is Albergo Milano, and it sits in the town of Brunate. I travelled by train from Milan to the town of Como, then walked around the edge of the lake to the funicular railway which took me to the top of the mountain. I didn’t realise it at the time, but I had left the town of Como and entered the town of Brunate.

Brunate is a town of over one thousand people, situated atop the mountains overlooking the lake and with views over range after range of mountains disappearing into the misty distance. The roads run between houses perched on steeply sloping land, each angled to capture the amazing views.


view from the top (above and below)


The hotel is currently fenced off, a dusty shuttered building sitting waiting for its next life. In front are two rows of manicured trees, a shaded garden that on e no doubt saw elegant ladies taking the air, children running between the trunks and swinging from the branches, and perhaps afternoon teas sheltered from the hot mountain sun.

The former elegance of the hotel shines through its current condition. The shuttered windows have a patient waiting feel to the building; it is sleeping, awaiting someone to come and gently wake it for its next life, restore it to its former glory.

(Albert, the guardian of Albergo Milano shows us around the hotel)

This hotel captured my imagination, and stayed with me even as I travelled back to my real life in Australia. Thanks to the miracle of google I managed to identify it and find a partial history.

Now I just need the lottery or a fairy godmother / godfather, so I can restore it to its former glory and live happily ever after in Italy.









Postscript: The hotel has apparently had fire damage – which was not really visible when I saw it.




5 responses

21 08 2015
Dana Starr

Oh my gosh, I can’t believe I found this page. I’ve been obsessed with this abandoned hotel since I discovered it a year ago. I even dream about it. I’ve been hesitant to do a lot of research on it because I tend to immerse myself too much and my real life suffers. Anyway, it seems you haven’t been using this blog for some time and probably you will not see this message, but I had to write and thank you for this information.

21 08 2015

Thank you! I haven’t written for a long while but still get notifications. Nice to know others love the hotel as well!

31 07 2016
Dana Starr

I don’t know if you’ll see this message, but I had to write and tell you that I’ve just returned from Como. I was able to spend an afternoon in Brunate. It was so incredibly hot and humid. I was covered in sweat by the time I got off the funicular, but I was so excited about seeing the hotel once again. I was there a couple of years ago, and the place captured my imagination to such an extent that I just had to see it again. I was immediately disappointed when I hopped off the funicular only to discover that the hotel is now surrounded by ugly sheet metal and rebar. Someone has gone to a lot of trouble to keep people out. I just walked around, to the extent that I could, and stared at the building for an hour in an effort to get my courage up. It was weird because other people who were in the area with me hardly paid any notice to the abandoned building, but there’s something about it that just fascinates me. Finally, I found a low spot towards the back of the building where I could climb over the sheet metal and rebar and I went for it. I was kind of scared of getting caught and chased away, but literally no one displays any interest. Fire damage is evident on the facade, but it’s still a beautiful building. Most, but not all the windows, are shuttered and I wasn’t able to actually get inside; however, I was able to see inside some of the ground floor rooms and the fire damage is bad. It looked like someone had started reconstruction at some point because there was large piles of building material stacked inside, but no reconstruction is going on now. It was super creepy, and I was paranoid of getting caught, but I took a bunch of pictures. If you’re interested in seeing them let me know and I’ll be happy to share them with you. After my little adventure, I talked with one of the street vendors in the little tourist area near the hotel, and he told me that I could buy and reconstruct the hotel for 15 million dollars. I couldn’t tell if he was serious or only kidding because I don’t speak Italian and his English was choppy. Anyway, apparently reconstruction hasn’t happened, according to him, because it’s an historical building and the Italian government makes it too difficult on any entity who has attempted to do something with the place.

16 08 2016

Thanks Dana, I would live to see your photos!

11 09 2016
Dana Starr

Sorry, I almost forgot to send you the pictures I took of the abandoned hotel in Brunate. I ignored the No Trespassing signs and climbed over/around all the rebar and sheet metal to get to the building. It appeared as if someone had made a feeble attempt at restoration because I saw boxes of materials and supplies in the dining room area, but clearly nothing is going on with the building now. Fire damage is very evident on the inside, but it’s still beautiful. There was lots of graffiti and old wine bottles inside the building.

My husband and I stayed at a hotel on the shore of the lake in Como. At night, I could look up and see a solitary light shining from a window of the abandoned hotel. It was majorly creepy because there’s no electricity in that building, and I just couldn’t imagine that any sane person would be inside the structure at night with a flashlight or lantern. It fascinated me for several nights until I finally figured out that there’s at least one window that’s not shuttered. I imagine that one of the electric lights shining on the path of the funicular is reflecting off the glass of the window that’s not shuttered. The picture, entitled Ghost, is what I could see from my hotel looking up at the abandoned building at night.

One of my dreams is to someday stay in the refurbished hotel. That would be amazing.



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