Villa Melzi is located in the town of Bellagio on Lake Como and is famous for its spectacular gardens.
The gardens extend along the shore of the lake and fit perfectly into the hillsides of the Bellagio peninsula, which divides the two branches of the Lario.
The villa with the chapel and the orange grove, now a historic museum, are a neo-classical extension and have been declared a national monument.
The complex was built between 1800 and 1810 for Francesco Melzi d’Erit, duke of Lordi and vice-president of the Italian Republic with Napoleon and then great chancellor of the Italian Kingdom.
The assignment was entrusted to a great exponent of neoclassicism, Giocondo Albertolli, who gave the villa an elegant look, with simple lines and volumes that would further emphasize the wonderful surrounding scenery.
The summer residence of Duke Melzi d’Eril at the end of his political career and until his death, the villa was decorated and furnished by the most famous artists of the time such as decorator Albertolli, painters Andrea Appiani and Giuseppe Bossi, scenographer Alessandro Sanquirico sculptors Antonio Canova, Giovan Battista Comolli, Pompeo Marchesi, and bronze man Luigi Manfredini.
The façade of the villa, simple and regular, is enriched by a double ramp staircase and four Egyptian style lions. On the sides of the terrace and the parterre to the logo there are two marble statues of the five hundred, representing Apollo and Meleagro.
The English gardens, enriched with sculptures, are designed by Luigi Canonica and botanist Luigi Veronesi, both responsible for arranging the Villa Reale park in Monza. In the rich garden full of rare and exotic plants you can also find secular trees, camel hedges, azaleas woods and giant rhododendrons, stones and monuments, crafts and memorabilia of historical and artistic value.
There is also an oriental garden with a water lily pond, a statue of a dignitary dating back to Ramses II. In the garden there is also a Moorish style kiosk with busts of Austrian emperors Ferdinand I and Marianna of Savoy, a monument to Dante and Beatrice in front of which Franz Liszt, guest at Villa Melzi, composed the Sonata in Dante.