Discover Villa Melzi - Lake of Como

Villa Melzi is on the shores of Lake Como with a garden cascading toward the water. The villa is a huge white building with a Neoclassicalstyle. This creates a perfect fit into the lakeshore setting.

The gardens stretching about a kilometre attract hordes of visitors. Luigi Villoresi and Luigi Canonica are the designers of this magic retreat which is very delightful to the spirit and eyes.

Nowadays only visits are possible only atVilla Melzi Gardens.

Villa gardens

The park ofVilla Melziis the first English-style garden around Lake Como. The soil here was adapted with tiny knolls and terracing. Selecting the tree here was a combination of exotic and traditional essences with a mix of unique samples that were highly desirable at the time. Beautiful sculptures including the Egyptian basalt statue of Sekhnetz – Goddess of War and Dante and Beatrice are all over the park.

Water plants such as water lilies are in the charming Japanese lake surrounded by cedars and maples. The lawns and slopes become multicoloured between April and May from the blossoming rhododendrons and azaleas.

A visit to Villa Melzi gardensduring a holiday on Lake Como is worth a try. The amazing villa and its beautiful gardens give a calming effect to make you want to stay forever.

Historic background

Francesco Melzi d’Eril whom Napoleon nominated Duke of Lodi requested architect Giocondo Albertolli to build the villa. He was the vice-president of the Italian republic from 1802 until 1805 when the Italian kingdom came about, and he became chancellor of the empire. Melzi desired to make his residence match that of others along Lake Como such as the Royal Villa of Monza.

Famous artists such as Appiani and Bossiand sculptors like Canova and Comolli were tasked to decorate and furnish the villa. Melzi d’Eril had a collector’s passion rivalled by Giovan Battista Sommariva owner of villa Carlotta also along Lake Como.

Construction of the villa

Construction of the villa was from 1808 to 1810 with Directoire style designs from architect Albertolli. The marble mantle of the altar pertains to Comolli with the Sacred Family and St Anne. In the corners are four angles made by Pompeo Marchesi. Angelo Monticelli realized Bossi’s design to create the Eterno on the main altar, the chiaroscuro decorations, and evangelists at the plumes.

Designing of the villa

The entrance has two cardboard paintings with a lunette door frame portraying St Bernard, The Virgin and Child, the Pietà, and another saint. The external north wall has a door leading to the ancient casa Melzi. It’s an attribution of a family headstone to Bramante.

There’s a 1200 stone decoration with symbols depicting four evangelists. Giuseppe Bossi stands out during the decoration of the villa. He designed the vault depicting the Parnaso and the scenic four door frames to celebrate Francesco Melzi. This famous member of the family was a student of Leonardo.

Villa Melzi special features

Monuments and artifacts enrich the surroundings of the villa. Napoleon desired a Venetian gondola that was transported toBellagioand two precious statues from Egypt.

Other features that highlight the neoclassic setting include secular trees, groves of azaleas, exotic plants, the chapel, the glasshouse, the villa, gigantic rhododendrons, and hedges of camellias.

Interior of the villa

You have to proceed along a tree-filled path with shadows of plane trees trimmed to form an umbrella shape. These limit exposure to excess summer heat to give you ultimate pleasure during the stroll. The trimming of the tree originated from the landscapes on the banks of the Lario. On getting to the huge terrace on the villa front, you’ll admire the beauty of the centre of the lake.

Getting through the picturesque staircase exposes you to the harmony and soberness of this structure. The construction of the terrace sides is defined by four austere lions with two marble statues softening the lines. These two statues represent Meleagro and Apollo.

Exterior of the villa

The surrounding space is filled with sculptures from Giovanni Battista Comolli. These portray Beatrice consoling Dante after the exile prophesy to indicate getting higher justice. The southern part of the villa has three neoclassical busts with the one in the center representing Alfieri. This section used to have a boardwalk linking it to the glasshouse front terrace in the north of the villa with citrus trees.

However, this wing is now independent and a museum for the public today. The museum has Napoleonic heirlooms and ancient archaeological findings. At the border of the garden is a chapel near the Loppia landing space. The chapel is a tiny neoclassic structure decorated with Giuseppe Bossi’s paintings and furnished with Manfredini chandeliers.

Famous visitors to the villa

Various famous people have visited the villa. Melzi d’Eril received his friend Vice-King Eugenio Beauharnais with his wife Augusta. In 1838, the Emperor of Austria Ferdinand I and Empress Anna in the company of Prince Metternich with Empress Maria Feodorovna of Russia were visitors at the villa. Franz Litz composed some of his famous piano pieces such as “Dante Sonata” during his regular visits to the villa.