Historic Italian Houses-Museum

Como: Villa del Balbianello

On the western shores of Lake Como, Villa Balbianello is situated on a wooded promontory forming a small peninsula on the lake. The complex was built in the late eighteenth century by Cardinal Angelo Maria Durini on the remains of a thirteenth-century Franciscan convent.
The house acquired its present appearance in 1974 when it was purchased by entrepreneur Guido Monzino, who completely changed the decor, adding French and English furniture of the eighteenth-nineteenth century, oriental rugs, tapestries and wood paneling of Beauvais in France. It was the same Monzino to leave the complex Balbianello to the FAI (Fondo per l'Ambiente italiano).

Capri: Villa San Michele.

The house, which since 1950 houses the Fondazione San Michele, belonged to Axel Munthe, who was a doctor, but who is best known as a writer. He dedicated to the much loved villa his book "The Story of San Michele" published in 1929 and subsequently translated into fifty languages.

The Royal Palace in Caserta.

Surrounded by a park that stretches three kilometers in length, the historic mansion was commissioned by Charles III of Bourbon, who wanted for the beloved landscape of Caserta a residence that would rival that of Versailles.
The Palace was proclaimed World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Image above presents the large, majestic staircase and a detail of the bedroom of Francesco II.

Senago: Villa San Carlo Borromeo.
Twenty minutes from Milan, this fourteenth century historic palatial home is surrounded by a large park and is home to a luxury five star hotel, a restaurant, a library and a museum. At times it hosts art exhibitions.

Gardone Riviera: "Il Vittoriale degli Italiani".

The home of famous writer Gabriele D'Annunzio on Lake Garda was designed by Giancarlo Maroni. Construction began in 1921 and in 1925 was declared a national monument. Nestled in an area of nine hectares, the complex is currently home to the Foundation of the Italian Vittoriale, open to the public all year round.
Not just a house where the poet lived and worked but a sort of citadel, which houses a number of buildings, plazas, theaters, streets and fountains.

Varese: Villa Litta Panza di Biumo Menafoglio.
Surrounded by a magnificent Italian garden, it was built in the mid eighteenth century for the Marquis Paolo Antonio Menafoglio and expanded in neoclassical style by architect Luigi Canonica.
The villa is famous around the world for the vast number of contemporary art collected by Giuseppe Panza di Biumo since the '50s. In the halls and big stables are now exhibited over one hundred works of contemporary artists, as well as the rich furnishings of the period from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century and an important collection of African and pre-Columbian art.

Images by Daniele Pellegrini, Giorgio Majno, Peter Cottino, FAI and Vittoriale web sites


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