Lakeside Villas of Como
13 May 2016
From Piazza Cavour following the lakeside to the left, you can get on the “Passeggiata di Villa Olmo” or the Path of Villa Olmo, which features several villas constructed by the noble Milanese families that were used as vacation homes.
Villa La Rotonda, one of the villas you’ll discover on the path, features an eliptical hall which extends towards the lake. Decorated with ionic columns capped with statues of mythological gods, the villa was designed by Leopoldo Pollack in the late 18th century and saw guests like Napoleone, Princess Carolina of Brunswick, and Tzar Alessandro II. Today it’s the headquarters for the Provincial Administration.
Villa Gallia, also belonging to the Province, was constructed in 1600. With the original structure still in tact, both façades feature arcades leading to the central hall on two floors, which is completely decorated with frescoes. The garden, which once extended to the top of the hill behind the villa, now remains in front of the villa and a small alcove of the Nymphaeum.
Villa Parravicini is distinguished for its monumental façade, which was built in the early 19th century and to this day conserves the original decoration inside. The garden was designed by Luigi Canonica, and was most likely also behind the villa itself.
Villa Mondolfo-Volontè extends over an ancient convent and consists of two symmetrical wings, which are connected by a covered arcade. At the entrance towards Villa Olma, you can admire the elegant gate in iron, which was originally created for Villa d’Este.
Finally, you’ll reach Villa Olmo, a Neoclassical mansion with an Italian garden overlooking the lake and an English garden in the back. The building was constructed in the late 18th century for the Odescalchi family by Simone Cantoni. In the mid 19th century, with the Raimondi family, it became a place for diplomatic meetings, and in 1925 was purchased by the city of Como. Today the villa is used an exhibition space and inside the English park begins the “Chilometro della conoscenza”, a path that connects the various parks and historic villas.
Walking this “green corridor”, you can admire the various villas for an unforgettable experience unlike anything else in the world.