Daniel Craig’s first outing as 007 in ‘Casino Royale‘ (2006) re-booted the James Bond franchise and gave it the kick up the ar*e that it needed. It is in fact one of the best Bond films and the ending to the movie was filmed in Como at two locations.
The Villa del Balbianello is where Bond recovers from his beating by the main antagonist Le Chiffre and is being questioned by the dodgy(?) MI6 Agent Mathis in the garden which is actually just outside the ticket office and bookshop entered through the door on the left of the picture below.
Bond is one step ahead of Mathis though and has him tasered and arrested. He is then dragged away across the garden below) as we get to see the opposite direction of the first scene I mentioned.
The next scene begins with a beautiful sweeping shot of the loggia as seen below.
Bond wakes up to see Vesper (Eva Green) and they start to whisper a load of sweet nothings to each other on the south side of the loggia below.
Monsieur Mendel interrupts the romance by coming up the path (below) which tells anyone who has visited the Villa that he actually arrived by boat. One would think that that kind of thing is fairly unlikely but you never know. Like it matters anyway!
Swiss Bank manager Mendel then ignores Vesper’s pleasantry and puts his briefcase on the table where, after a joke about Swiss chocolates, he asks Bond to input the account number and password into some special device within the case so that his 120 million (dollars?) casino winnings can be transferred. Herr Mendel then exits leaves the Villa grounds the same way he arrived and for all we know he may have sped off on his boat!
More flirting, a declaration of love for each other (basically) and a kissing scene follows before the camera is peering down on them from up somewhere in the loggia and that is the last time we see the Villa del Balbianello.
The very final 90 seconds of ‘Casino Royale‘ were shot at Villa La Gaeta in Aquaseria, and was not easy to get to. First, I had to wait about 90 minutes for a bus but that bus stopped at the depo where I had to wait a while longer before changing to another bus which needed another ticket.
Although very easy to see from the lake, when going there by road it is a lot more difficult to spot. After going through a long tunnel you come out and then go almost straight away into another tunnel and as soon as you exit that one its on the right. Very easy to miss!
The first shot of the villa is from its front gates as the car of the mysterious Mr White goes down the driveway.
This is easy enough to copy as one can just poke their camera through the gates and snap away. At worst this is all I thought I might get as the villa is a private home but I was determined to try and get in somehow. Luckily, as soon as I arrived at the villa a young guy in his twenties was going in the side gate. I asked in my bad Italian if he spoke English to which he thankfully said yes. I asked if I could go in for a few moments to take a photo or two but he said it wasn’t possible as it might upset the other guests.
I begged and begged and even offered cash but he wasn’t gonna change his mind. He did say he would take a few quick photo’s for me and sensing that this would be as good as I would get I duly handed him the camera and so that’s why the following photo’s aren’t as good as match-up as I’d usually try and do.
A fantastic aerial shot of the villa in all its glory is followed by Mr White parking his car, looking out across the lake and getting a call from Bond not that he knows it’s him. In fact he even says “Who is this?” which sets up the final line very well.
The response to Mr White’s question is a shot in the leg from a hidden Bond which leaves him crawling across the gravel in front of a bench.
Mr White is then shown crawling towards the steps of the villa of which the second step is very recognisable as it has a rusty colour mark in the middle of it. As the villain tries to climb the steps we see the feet of Bond appear and the camera pans up to show his face and we see him holding his mobile in one hand and the gun in the other which he used only moments before. Proof that some things are best left to last as Bond finally answers Mr White’s question in typical 007 fashion; “The name’s Bond…James Bond.”