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Aristocracy in Como: discovering the noble gardens of Villa Melzi

Posted by on in Laghi - Lakes
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b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_7947.JPG Dear friends, welcome to My Own Italy to discover Italy with my personal touch !

Our travel today is to the lakes of Italy and so let's go to Lombardy.

In Bellagio, in lake Lecco, we'll visit the noble and enchanting gardens of Villa Melzi d'Eril.

 

 

 b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG-20140330-WA0035-1.jpg Arriving in Bellagio, and just I crossed the gate of the entrance to Villa Melzi, I was greeted by the incredible landscape that overlooks the picturesque that Lake Como offers from this elegant Villa.

Here you can admire the whole coast, and in distance the magic of the snowy Alps that are a counterpoint to the stunning garden, green expanse of grassy lawn that looks like velvet and the bright colorful camellias, azaleas and rhododendrons that exhilarate your sight and senses. 

 

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Villa Melzi d'Eril is a historic private mansion - declared, with the surrounding property, a national monument - owned by the family Melzi d'Eril, today its branch Gallarati Scotti: in fact, Ludovico Melzi joined in marriage with Josephine Barbò, and they had two daughters. Their favorite married Giancarlo Gallarati Scotti, Prince of Molfetta, and with the marriage she led to her husband's her family's villa in Bellagio.

 b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_7945.JPGThe splendid view over the center of the lake and the beauty of the garden and its monuments have been described by Stendhal, as he was a frequent visitor this beautiful park, in "Rome, Naples et Florence." Twenty years later Stendhal will evoke these places in the "Charterhouse of Parma."

  The complex of Villa Melzi was built between 1808 and 1810 for Francesco Melzi d'Eril - Duke of Lodi and Vice President of the Italian Republic during the Napoleonic era -as summer residence, until his death. He entrusted the task decorator and architect Giocondo Albertolli of neoclassical tendencies, with the intention of designing a residence as elegant as the Royal Villa of Monza and the other villas situated in Lake Como.

b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_8013.JPG Villa Melzi was decorated and furnished by famous artists of that time; the villa opens with the its English garden which stratches harmoniously along the banks of the lake, the last offshoot in the hill picture of the peninsula of Bellagio, to the south of the inhabited area.

 The realization of the magnificent garden forced to substantial work on the shape of the land and the construction of massive retaining walls.

 b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_7971.JPG In a setting so unique, enriched by monuments, relics (including a Venetian gondola transported to Bellagio by Napoleon, and two precious ancient Egyptian statues), rare exotic plants, secular trees, hedges of camellias, groves of azaleas and gigantic rhododendrons, the villa, the chapel and the greenhouse constitute an extraordinary ensemble in which the neoclassical style touches one of its highest expressions.

 

 The facade of Villa Melzi, simple and regular, it is enriched by a double stairb2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_7937.JPGcase and by four lions of the Egyptian style. On the sides of the parterre and on the terrace towards the lake stand two marble statues of the sixteenth century stand up: they represent Apollo and Meleager, already attributed to the sculptor Guglielmo della Porta.

 The complex consists not only of the villa, but also of the chapel, where there are the remains of the Melzi family; of the gardens, which extend for 800 meters along the coast of the lake between the village of Bellagio and the fraction Loppia; of the orangerie, now a museum; from the hill-pine forest, originally adjacent to the gardens, then separated by the road built later.

b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_8025.JPG  The english gardens, enriched by sculptures, were designed by the architect Luigi Canonica and by botanist Luigi Villoresi, both responsible for the layout of the park of the Villa Reale in Monza.

 In the garden, full of rare and exotic plants, there are trees, hedges of camellias, groves of azaleas and gigantic rhododendrons, stones and monuments, boats and relics of historical and artistic value.

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  The first stretch of the walk is along the plane trees, cut like an umbrella to enable to enjoy a walk, sometimes limiting the excessive summer heat and ending in the wide open space in front of the villa.

 

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 The parterre overlooking the lake is bordered by two columns and has a bathtub with water lilies and sculptures, added in the second half of the nineteenth century.

 

 

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 Entering from Bellagio a part adapted to "oriental garden" is on the left, with a pond of water lilies. Going on, the view of the lake opens and meets the first Egyptian antiquities distributed in the park: the statue of a dignitary (enriched with hieroglyphs) dating back to the time of Ramses II.

 

 b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_8010.JPGFurther on, stretched out on the lake there is the white and blue kiosk in the Moorish style, which preserves the busts of Emperor Ferdinand I of Austria and Empress Marianne of Savoy, of the Duke Lodovico Melzi and his wife Josephine Melzi Barbò last owners before switching from the Melzi family to the one of Gallarati Scotti.

 In fact, he used to go to the kiosk for tea and listening to music in front of the monument of Dante and Beatrice, made ​​in 1810 by the sculptor Giovanni Battista Comolli, in front of which Franz Liszt, guest of Villa Melzi, composed the Sonata Dante (1847-1855)

b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_7968.JPG  Halfway up a grassy plain, in the past used as a tennis court,  is equipped with a hut used as a place of rest and point lookout.

From here you can enjoy an excellent view of the lake, on the bank of Tremezzo and Villa Carlotta, which, with Villa Melzi, is the milestones of an ideal path between the gardens and the neoclassical culture of Lake Como.

 

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 On the southern side, just at the entrance of Loppia, a dense grove of bamboo stands in perfect correspondence with the oriental garden at the opposite end of the park: they both testify to a widespread inclination to nineteenth-century exoticism, as the gardens of Villa Melzi testify.

 

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 In the end, the gardens of Villa Melzi are a must see destination in your holiday  in Italy.

 Leisure me: this is my tourism!

Blog posted from I Giardini di Villa Melzi D'Eril, 22021 Bellagio CO, Italia View larger map
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