Villa Melzi Bellagio Lake Como

Property Details
Type of property: Villa - Mansion   Available for: Not Available
Position: Lakeside - Waterfront   Town / Area: Bellagio
Living Area [sqm]: 0   Ground Area [sqm]: 0
N° Bathrooms: 0   N° Bedrooms: 0
N° Floors: 0   Price:
Floor Plan Not Available    


Villa Melzi has an English-style garden that harmoniously extends along the shores of Lake Como, the last ramification of the Bellagio peninsula’s last expanse of hills, south of the residential area.
The gardens of Villa Melzi stretch out along the lake shore and are harmoniously inserted into the hillside scenery of the Bellagio peninsula that divides the two branches of Lake Como. Inside the gardens is the villa, the chapel and the orangery, transformed today into a historical museum, all of which are a splendid expression of the neoclassical style, and as such they were declared a national monument.
The complex was built between 1808 and 1810 for Francesco Melzi d’Eril (1753-1816), the Duke of Lodi and Vice President of the Italian Republic under Napoleon and subsequently the Grand Chancellor of Napoleon’s Kingdom of Italy.
The design was entrusted to the architect Giocondo Albertolli (1742-1839), a highly important exponent of Neoclassicism. The architect was asked to create a villa with a sober and elegant appearance, with simple lines and volumes that would further emphasise the remarkable surrounding countryside.
A long avenue lined with plane trees begins from the boat dock. Gardens of azaleas and giant rhododendrons surround the villa and enclose small hidden spaces such as the artificial grotto or Japanese lake called the “small water lily lake”. Classical busts and statutes are on display in the flowerbeds near the villa and on the balcony up ahead.
Visitors can also enter the chapel overlooking the small harbour of Loppia, housing the tombs of the members of the noble family.
In the orangery adjacent to the villa is a small museum displaying Napoleonic relics attesting to Melzi d’Eril’s loyalty to Napoleon and the spoils of war from the Egyptian campaign in the late eighteenth century: especially popular with visitors is the Egyptian statue depicting a dignitary of the court of Ramses II (circa 1230 B.C.) and the lion-headed goddess of war.
Before reaching Villa Melzi you will walk along a tree-lined path, in the shadow of plane trees, cut in the shape of an umbrella, allowing visitors to enjoy a walk limiting the excessive summer heat in certain spots along the way. At one time this type of pruning was a widely found element in the landscape on the shores of the lake. Once you’ve reached the large terrace in front of the villa you can admire the scenery of the lake and the harmony and sobriety of the building accessible from the dramatic staircase. Four austere lions define the space of the construction on the sides of the terrace.
A no less important feature of Villa Melzi is the park, the first example of an English-style garden on the lake, designed by the architect Luigi Canonica and the botanist Luigi Villoresi.
The garden was created with great care, levelling out the ground or raising up small hills in order to make the park appear large than it actually is. Scattered among the trees in the garden are Egyptian, Etruscan-Roman, Renaissance and Neoclassical sculptures.
The construction of the Park of Villa Melzi involved the elimination of the ancient municipal road that from the village of Bellagio led up to San Giovanni along the lake, a choice that was not popular with the citizens of Bellagio since it hindered them from passing on the road that ran along the shores of Lake Como.
In addition to Giocondo Albertolli, the creator of a considerable portion of the interior furnishings and decor, other artists worthy of mention include the painters Andrea Appiani, Giuseppe Bossi, Alessandro Sanquirico, the sculptors Antonio Canova, Giambattista Comolli Pompeo Marchesi and the bronze craftsman Luigi Manfredini.
In terms of the decorations, the most important work can be attributed to Giuseppe Bossi, who provided the designs for the vault representing Parnassus in the great Hall of Honour and conceived the four panels over the doors depicting scenes of the celebration of an illustrious member of the family, Francesco Melzi, a pupil of Leonardo.
Another assiduous frequentor of the park was Franz Litz, who is said to have composed some of his most famous piano pieces there.
The Melzi dynasty was later inherited by the Gallarati Scotti family.
The Gardens of Villa Melzi are open from 28 March to 30 October, every day, from 9:30am to 6:30pm and are a not-to-be-missed destination for those who decide to spend their holidays on Lake Como.
Villa Melzi is located in the splendid city of Bellagio. Bellagio is a small town, situated along the shores of the picturesque Lake Como, particularly distinctive for its unique position. The town can  be reached by bus or by ferry boat from the city of Como.
By car it's about a 40 minute drive along the lake from Como or Lecco. A ferry boat connects Menaggio on the western shores of the lake and other ferry boats or buses offer connections to other cities on the lake.