Villa Gallia is the oldest villas on via Borgo Vico, built on the site of the sixteenth century villa known as “The Museum” by Paolo Giovio.
Built in the early seventeenth century for the Abbot Marco Gallio, the villa has a simple layout, with a large central hall and two loggias on the ground floor, one facing the lake and the other facing the mountain.
From Marco’s descendants Villa Gallia was passed on to various hands: from the Bossi Fossani to the Bellotti family and others. The building progressively declined until 1874 when it was purchased by the baron Sabino Leonino, who began work on an organic restoration, redoing the attic and building a dock and stables.
In 1901 the property was sold to the Crespi family who completed the restoration work, purchasing a tract of land, previously part of the property, converting it into a garden designed by Lodovico Pogliaghi.
The three-story Villa Gallia has two similar facades; one overlooking the lake – from which flowerbeds and a long balustrade divide the yard – the other one facing a hill in back and the garden.
A portico with three arches open up from each side of the building, with double columns, leading to the large central hall with its high ceilings, which occupies the ground floor and first floor, illuminated by two rows of windows.
The hall preserves the magnificent, original paintings: the walls are punctuated by an order of thick fluted columns, painted by Isidoro Bianchi.
The wall panels are frescoed with mythological characters, painted by Morazzone between 1615 and 1618, and landscapes attributed to Bianchi.
The coffered ceiling is wood with carved rosettes, the floor is made with polychrome marble.
The name of the architect, as well as the artists who painted the frescoes in the hall, remain unknown (most likely the Recchi brothers and Isidoro Bianchi).
The other frescoed rooms on the first floor are the Landscape Room, the Hunting and Fishing Room and the two Festoon Rooms.
In 1957 Villa Gallia was purchased by the city’s provincial government and can be admired by tourists walking along the lake, enjoying a holiday in Como.