They can be reached in a few minutes by car or, better, by boat.
The Villa Carlotta was built in 1690 by the Marquis Giorgio Clerici and took on its current name a century later when, in 1848, the Prussian Princess Carlotta received it as a wedding gift on her marriage to the Duke of Saxony-Meiningen.
The magnificent park and its rare plants attract visitors from all over the world and it is particularly famous for the spring flowering of azaleas and rhododendrons. Some of the flowering plants are enormous and reach the exceptional height of 22 metres.
Open every day from March to the beginning of November from 9.00 am to 6.00 pm.mClosed at lunch time in March, April, October and November.
This ex Cistercian convent dates from 1200 and was transformed into a splendid residence in the 17th century. The park was enlarged at the end of the 19th century by the new owners, a wealthy family from Hamburg and was completed in 1904, when the Liberty style was in full swing.
Among those who frequented Villa Monastero was Fogazzaro who used the garden as inspiration for his theatrical work “Nadejde” which tells the story of the Princess de la Roche Plessys.
Since 1936 the villa has played host to international scientific and cultural meetings. The garden is open every day from April to October from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm.
Villa Cipressi is a series of buildings and gardens of great historical interest built principally between 1400 and 1800.
Among the various proprietors was the noble Serponti family who migrated here from the Comacina island when, in 1169, this island was destroyed by the people from Como. At the end of the 18th century it was owned by Baron Isimbardi, director of Milan’s Mint. It was also an hotel and among the guests in 1838 was Emperor Ferdinand I of Austria and his family. Later it was taken over by the Andreossi family who were mainly interested in the park and after them it passed to the English knightly family of Sulton and latterly to the editor Accame.
In 1980 it was bought by voluntary public subscription by the “People and Friends of Varenna” and now it’s run by a private association of volunteers who ensure, over and above everything else, that it participates in the prestigious international cultural manifestations which take place at the nearby Villa Monastero. Amongst the most important guests that have been there are well known people such as the Nobel Prize winners Rubbia, Bardeen, Alfven, Cooper, Schrieffer and other illustrious scientists and teaching staff from the most important Italian and foreign universities.
The terraced garden overlooking the lake deserves a visit. Open every day from April to October from 9.00 am to 6.00 pm.
This villa is situated at the end of the Lavedo promontory. It was built in 1787 for Cardinal Angelo Maria Durini who set out to create the most beautiful garden on the Tremezzo Riviera. In the 19th century it became the summer home of Costanza Arconati Visconti who played host to Alessandro Manzoni, Giusti and Berchet. In 1976 the property was bought by the famous explorer Count Guido Monzino who dedicated much effort to restoring the house and its grounds.
A peculiar characteristic of the garden are the creepers which have been sculpted over the years to dress the villa, the plane trees and the garden walls. A winding, shaded path leads up to a terrace from which one can admire a beautiful view of the lake. Further up, the loggia exhibits a rich collection covering the history of alpine and polar exploration.
The villa now belongs to FAI, the Italian equivalent of the National Trust (a fund for the Preservation of the Environment) which maintains it in all splendour and opens it to the public every day except Monday and Wednesday from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. The interiors of the Villa can only be visited with a guide, booked in advance.
This Villa is situated in Loveno, hamlet of Menaggio and is a splendid 19th century dwelling from which one can see one of the finest views of Lake Como. One should not fail to visit, in particular, the park which surrounds the villa: created by the the landscape architect Giuseppe Balzaretto in around 1860, it extends like an amphitheatre over about 8 hectares (20 acres) and represents one of the finest example of romantic gardens to be found in Lombardy. While walking through Maritime Pines, Maple trees, Cypresses, great Cedars of Lebanon and an ample variety of essence plants, statues and small temples you get the impression of being immersed in an oasis of peace and beauty which you would never wish to leave.
The villa was acquired and partially rebuilt in 1829 by the German industrialist and benefactor of the arts Henry Mylius. He transformed it into a meeting place for German and Italian artists and writers. Thanks to the care taken by his descendents, the house was enriched as the years went by with art treasures becoming a sort of house-museum. Left to the Federal German Republic by the last proprietor, the writer, dandy and landscape artist, Ignazio Vigoni, the villa has become the seat of the Italo-German Centre which holds there conventions, seminars and other manifestations.
The park can be visited on Thursday afternoons solely by previous booking and compatibly with the conference programme. Open all the year round.
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