Lake Como has always been known as a beautiful holiday resort thanks to the mild climate and unsurpassable beauty of the small seaside resorts nestled in the Pre-Alps: in past centuries only noble families and Italian and European writers spent holiday periods in the sumptuous villas overlooking the lake. Now the lake has become an international tourist destination. In a strategic position a short distance from Milan and Brianza, perfectly connected by rail, Lake Como offers extremely elegant landscapes: small villages nestled on woody slopes that alternate with the famous villas surrounded by lush gardens, unmissable during the spring blooms and with plant species from all over the world. There are many lakeside villas: Villa Olmo, Villa d’Este in Cernobbio, Villa Monastero, Villa Cipressi in Varenna, or Villa Serbelloni or Villa Melzi in Bellagio or the very famous Villa Carlotta in Tremezzo, Villa Balbianello in Lenno, some open to public, others to be admired only from the outside.
In a natural basin, between lake and mountains, the marquis Giorgio Clerici built a splendid, imposing but sober home in the late 1600s, surrounded by an Italian garden, facing a breathtaking scenery on the Grigne and Bellagio dolomites. Villa Carlotta offers to the groups of visitors a historical and artistic patrimony, kept inside the halls of the museum, and a botanical heritage, characterized by the hundreds of tree species that characterize its vast garden. With Gian Battista Sommariva, the next owner, the villa touched the peak of splendor, enriching itself with works of art and becoming an unmissable destination for a visit to Lake Como. Sommariva, who acquired the property in the early nineteenth century, wanted that part of the garden be transformed into an extraordinary romantic park and that the villa was embellished with masterpieces by Canova, Thorvaldsen and Hayez. Villa Carlotta Park is famous for the amazing spring flowering of rhododendrons and azaleas in over 150 varieties. However, every year is suitable for a visit: ancient examples of camellias, cedars and centuries-old sequoias, immense plane trees and exotic essences are proposed to visitors in an alternation of settings created over the centuries by the architects of the gardens. With a 3-hour visit you can see the villa’s museum and its gardens
MORNING VISIT TO VILLA CARLOTTA Eighteenth-century villa renowned for its museum full of famous works of art and for the botanical garden known for the azalea and rhododendron blooms, takes the name Carlotta daughter of Princess Marianna di Nassau and Prince Albert of Prussia, where Carlotta lived with her husband Duke George II, crown prince of Saxony Meiningen.
THE CAMELIES Judging from the dimensions reached by numerous specimens, the use of the camellia at Villa Carlotta dates back a long way. Walking through the gardens you can admire different varieties, some very rare, from the most different colors.
THE AZALEE In April and May Villa Carlotta offers an authentic sea of multicolored azaleas, arranged in high rounded cushions along some paths. The effect is extraordinary, both for the chromatic variety and for the dimensions reached by the shrubs. It is a flowery path of great charm and scope that in Italy knows very few equals. On the ground floor of the villa where there is an important collection of ancient and modern works of art, painting and sculpture that attract illustrious visitors from all over Europe, these works are part of the collection collected by the second owner Giambattista Sommariva . On the first floor you can admire furniture, objects, paintings, pictorial decorations, all traces of the taste of living in the villa of the two spouses Carlotta and Giorgio II, Grand Duke of Sachsen-Meiningen. The park of Villa Carlotta (about 8 hectares can be visited) is a place of great charm, not only for its panoramic position, but also for the harmonious coexistence of styles, the richness of essences, the literary suggestions that make it an unmissable destination for those arriving on Lake Como. From the seventeenth century remains the large Italian garden with high hedges geometrically cut, balustrade parapets, statues and water features; of the romantic period the structure of the English garden can still be perceived, rich in precious trees of exceptional proportions and of very suggestive views; at the end of the nineteenth century the great plant architecture of the imposing masses of rhododendrons, azaleas and rare species dates back, making the park of Villa Carlotta a veritable botanical garden.
VISIT THE MUSEUM & IT’S GARDENS
RODODENDREN FOREST The skilful care of a single species of rhododendron (Rhododendron arboreum) has allowed us to create an environment that in nature is only reflected in the Himalayan mountains: dozens of over a hundred individuals, from branches and twisted trunks create a unique atmosphere here. BAMBOO GARDEN Over 3000 square meters inspired by the principles and techniques of Japanese garden art, here are home to 25 species of bamboo, some very rare, in a context of great harmony between waterfalls, streams and stone structures.
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Services: Bar-cafeteria; Picnic space; Bookshop, internal and external lift. Dogs can only enter the garden and if kept on a leash.
Opening Times: FROM 22 MARCH TO 29 SEPTEMBER OPENING: 09.00 - 19.30 FROM 30 SEPTEMBER TO 27 OCTOBER OPENING: 09.30 - 18.30 FROM 28 OCTOBER TO 3 NOVEMBER FOR THE PONTE DELL’IMMACOLATA OPENING: 10.00am - 5.00pm 12
LOCAL LUNCH IN TREMEZZO TRY SOME LOCAL FLAVORS
After visiting the villa in the morning you can enjoy local recipes based on typical products of Lake Como in Tremezzo and Cadenabbia. both villages that are located around villa carlotta You can find solutions for all budgets and for all tastes. Tremezzo is one of the most famous tourist attractions of Lake Como, located on the western shore of Lake Como, just in front of Bellagio, with a splendid view of the central basin and the Grigne. Since 1947, the village, together with Lenno and Mezzegra, has become part of a unique municipality, known as Tremezzina. The marvelous villas and the enormous hotels built between the 18th and 19th centuries have made Tremezzo an international tourist reference point. In the Rogaro area you can admire a fantastic ancient tower, the remains of the ancient medieval fortresses. This small and enchanting peace of land extends from the shores of the lake to the hilly background at the foot of Mount Crocione. Tremezzo has two souls, coastal and hilly, both
AFTER LUNCH VISIT BELLAGIO
After lunch why not take the ferry from Tremezzo to Bellagio and enjoy a relaxing walk along the promenade. You can also extend your afternoon walk by visiting the exclusive gardens of Villa Melzi. The recommended time for a visit to his garden 1-2 hours The gardens of Villa Melzi stretch along the lake shore and blend harmoniously into the hilly surroundings of the Bellagio peninsula that divides the two branches of the Lario. With the visit to the garden of Villa Melzi you can admire plants and botanical species, along the external paths of the garden there are also numerous sculptures in a beautiful setting given by the panorama of Lake Como. The complex was built between 1808 and 1810 for Francesco Melzi d’Eril (1753-1816), Duke of Lodi, the villa is a splendid expression of neoclassical style, and as such declared a national monument. The English gardens, enriched with sculptures, were designed by the architect Luigi Canonica and the botanist Luigi Villoresi, both responsible for the arrangement of the park of the Villa Reale in Monza.