Historical notes

The Gardens of Villa Melzi strech out along the lake shore and are armoniously inserted into the hilly scenery of the Bellagio peninsula that divides the two branches of Lario lake.

Inland, the Villa, the Chapel and the orangery, today transformed into a historical museum, are splendid expression of neo-classical style and as such stated
national monument.

This architectural complex was realized between 1808 and 1810 for Francesco Melzi d'Eril (1753-1816), Duke of Lodi, Vice President of Italian Republic under Napoleon and afterwards Gran Chancellor of the Napoleonic Reign of Italy.

Francesco Melzi d'Eril relied upon the architect and decorator Giocondo Albertolli (1742-1839), an exponent of great importance in neo-classicism,
asking for a villa looking sober and polished whose simples lines and volumes would emphasize the surrounding amazing countryside.

The Villa that became the Melzi's residence at the end of his political career and afterwards his summer residence until his death was decorated and furnished by some of the most famous artists of the age: as well as along with Giocondo Albertolli author of the great part of furniture and inside decorations, are to be noted the painters Andrea Appiani (1754-1817) and Giuseppe Bossi (1777-1815), Alessandro Sanquirico (1777-1849) and the sculptors Antonio Canova (1757-1822), Giambattista Comolli (1775-1830), Pompeo Marchesi (1789-1858), as well as the bronze sculptor Luigi Manfredini (1771-1840).

The English styled gardens, enriched with sculptures, was designed by the architect Luigi Canonica and by the botanist Luigi Villoresi, both responsible for the arrangement of Villa Reale park in Monza.

Through the contribution of great artists and artisans and the special concordance between them and Francesco Melzi the whole complex was shaped like a place of rare harmony and was admired, among the others, by Stendhal who described its beauty in his book "Rome, Naples, Florence" dated 1817.