At the beginning of the enchanting village of Varenna there is Villa Monastero, a beautiful building that holds artistic and architectural treasures, as well as an amazing gardens, and which is reflected in the calm waters of the lake
The History of Villa Monastero
Built on the ruins of a Cistercian monastery (based on the legend the nuns were transferred here because they were used to a “too joyous behaviour”), it was restored several times until it became a place of holidays between 1500 and 1600, with the acquisition by the family Mornico; among the whole building the little church was kept public to allow observants to use it.
Lelio Mornico, son of Paolo, who bought the property, made some changes and the villa was so called Leliana
Then it passed to other owners that brought several changes until finally Walter Erich Jacob Kees made those changes, both to the villa and the garden, who has given the property the aspect that it has now: He built up the 3 arches loggia, a dock in the northern area, the small temple, fountains, the kafee-haus, and he furnished the internal area.
He owned the property for a short period of time because the government confiscated it.
At the end the building passed in the hands of Marco de Marchi, who donated it, and everything was inside it, in public hands after his death.
Open to visitors during the 1940 it was then changed into a congress centre and in the 1954 one of the rooms was entitled to Enrico Fermi; in the 1977 it became part of the properties of the National Council of research and is now managed by the Lecco Province.
Visit to the Villa
Just passed the ticket office you have access to the beautiful park; walking on the boulevard you can admire the breath-taking view: the beautiful lake and the towns washed by its waters; in short you can admire there exotic plants, flowers, fountains and discover views before being in front of the entrance of the villa
Let’s go inside Villa Monastero
Crossing the threshold, the atrium floor gets your attention as it still is the original seventeenth-century floor wanted by Mornico; carefully observing the tiles you can admire its three-dimensional effect before staring at the imposing staircase made with the black marble of Varenna, the red and yellow one of Verona, the white one of Carrara and some peach blossoms. Here are proudly displayed the painted majolica panels depicting portraits of philosophers, musicians, artists and German scientists, as well as some large stuccos and two bronze lamps.
Among the rooms you can visit the south-east one (or room Kennedy), reserved for Carlotta Kees and characterized by some vintage furniture (chests of drawers, a clock, the candlesticks, the prie-dieu, the chair, the table and some paintings), the parlour placed on the side, the striking black room with its beautiful Varenna’s black marble fireplace and its Flemish tapestry, the red room with its neo-rococo furniture, the white marble fireplace and the eighteenth century tapestry, the Mornico parlour, the master bedroom, the music room with two beautiful baby grand pianos, the living room with oriental furnishings and references to the Japanese style, as well as conference rooms and board ones.
What is astonishing is the bathroom, also called “bath of King Farouk “. Made in Pompeian style, with references to the Japanese style, it has a blue and pale blue tiled tub with steps, which are located next to marble obelisks. Embellished with panels depicting mermaids, merfolk and other elements that recall the marine life, it is preceded by a room with a toilet, a bidet, a coffee table, a wardrobe and an armchair.
Villa Monastero’s Garden
The visit to the gardens continues with ups and downs among palms, dragon trees, citrus trees, oleanders, rare and exotic plants; during the visit you can admire statues, fountains, artfully placed vases and temples; to rest, in addition to the comfortable benches scattered along the way, there is a small café that offers customers some seating overlooking the lake.
Visit the Villa: already from the start of the tour, just behind the ticket office, there are beautiful flowerbeds that offer amazing shows in springer time; Looking at right instead the view is fashinating watching the clear waters extending to Bellagio and more.
At a first stage we meet the little temple built by Kees, sculptures and fountains, then finally there is also the loggia.
The walking through the garden always gives surprise for the panorama and the botanic species alongside the boardwalk both on the left and right end side; the wonderful tour through plants flowers and fruits ends with visit to the Kaffe-Haus, view point on the amazing and unique panorama.
Within the area of Villa Monastero, people with moving problems is able to move safely and without any problem to the Museum Home; po get to the House there is the option of an electric shuttle while inside all the existing architectural barriers have been removed where possible to be substituted by elevators and ramps.
The gardens are just partially accessible anyway because the second half of them are full of stairs and steps that make the access really difficult. Hide Keyboard