Villa Melzi was the residence of Francesco Melzi d'Eril who was the Duke of Lodi and Vice President of the Italian Republic under Napoleon. This simple and elegant neoclassical villa was designed and decorated for the most part by Giacondo Albertolli. The villa's English garden stretches along the shores of Lake Como from the Bellagio entrance to the Loppia neighborhood on the south end. Plane trees lead to the villa and across the path, rhododendrons and azaleas dot the hillside. The garden was designed by Luigi Canonica and together with the botanist, Luigi Villoresi, they created a garden of aesthetic proportion, with the lake as its natural boundary.
Plane trees and a well manicured lawn lead to the villa from the Bellagio entrance.
This Moorish style temple holds the busts of the Austrian Emperor, Ferdinand I and Marianne of Savoia and the Duke Lodovico Melzi and his consort, Josephine Melzi. The Duke and Josephine were the last of the Melzis to own the villa. The Gallaratti Scotti family inherited the property after them. Across the lake is the village of Tremezzo.
This Venetian gondola steals the scene in the southern section of the garden. It feels and looks like a musical instrument, quite lyrical. Enough inspiration for the gondolier who can sing to his heart's content without interruption. Ahhh, but it's only for display.
What an entrance this gate promises to its visitors. And what a view from the main house and terrace!
No matter where you are in the garden, you can always catch a glimpse of the lake. This is the lily pond in the Japanese garden. The rays of the sun filter through an umbrella of trees. And just beyond, Lake Como or Lario, as it was called once upon a time.
Franz Liszt was a guest at Villa Melzi. He was inspired by his stay here to compose Dante's Sonate between 1847 and 1855. He said and I quote, "When you write a story of two happy lovers, place them on the shores of Lake Como".
Villa Melzi is open from 9:30 am to 6:30, March to October. Entrance fee is 6 euros (as of this writing) for the garden, chapel and orangery/museum only. The house is not open to the public. From the wharf in Bellagio, turn right along the lake, past the Lido on Lungolago Marconi.
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Images by Charie