Villa Monastero

Varenna, Italy

Villa Monastero, located on the shore of Lake Como, includes a botanical garden, a museum, and a convention center. Villa Monastero is an eclectic villa built in the Nordic style. The site was originally a Cistercian convent, founded at the end of the 12th century in Varenna, which now lies beneath the modern building. The convent grew in importance and wealth, purchasing many properties, especially around Lierna, but eventually declined to only six mothers, and was closed by papal bull in 1567.

The whole estate was purchased by Paolo Mornico in 1569, using his fortune amassed through iron mining in Valsassinia. In the 17th century the Mornico family incrementally rebuilt and decorated it in the eclectic style.

Walter Kees of Leipzig bought the villa in the 1890s, and between 1897 and 1909 carried out modifications which give its current style. Some of the architects involved include Emilio Alemagna, Achille Majnoni, and Enrico Citterio, the construction itself was overseen by G. Bertarini of Varenna. The final phase of construction expanded the garden, with the cooperation of Enrico Achler of Menaggio.

In 1936 the Milanese De Marchi family, originally from Switzerland, donated the villa to the public and it became a museum. In 1940 the gardens were opened to the public, and in 1953 the conference center was created.

A museum house was set up within Villa Monastero, and opened to the public in 2003. The monumental part of the house was already completed by 1996, with 14 rooms featuring original decorations and furniture from its various owners. The museum house also contains a collection of optical, electronic, and mechanical instruments originally belonging to Giovanni Polvani.



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Founded: 17th century
Category: Palaces, manors and town halls in Italy

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4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Marc Brazil (2 years ago)
Not Great...... We asked for Museum tickets but were given Garden only tickets. When we asked at museum entrance we were told we needed to go back to the entrance. NOT WORTH THE TRECK. There is a toilet beside the coffee shop. It was filthy. You would think something as simple as basic toilet cleaning would be done. The gardens are beautiful but then there are many beautiful places in the area. Definitely not worth the money.
Zi Lun Lim (2 years ago)
good price, beautiful atmosphere, amazing views. I would highly suggest to pay to enjoy a coffee in the garden and go around the garden. Multiple breathtaking insta worthy spots
Stephanie Schoen (2 years ago)
This may be my favorite spot in the world, at least what I’ve seen of it! I have visited there twice and it is truly magnificent. The gorgeous landscape architecture coupled with views of Lake Como — with its layers of mountain peaks in every direction — makes for many breathtaking sights.
Andrea Rigato (2 years ago)
This place is magic and amazing and it really deserves a visit. You must take to enter to visit the botanical garden but the price is worth the visit. I have never seen so many trees and so beautiful. The view on the lake The view on the lake is speechless and leaves you with a sense of greatness. The town as well as nice and you take amazing pictures all around the lake. I really recommend this visit
Gabriele Lopez (2 years ago)
Working as a wedding photographer is about meeting, interacting and knowing people. Even a work as an engagement portrait photography session in Lake Como Area, in the Varenna’s Villa Monastero session may become a chance for meeting individuals, listen to their story and while my focus will be to frame a little story in a digital or celluloid analog rectangle, I strongly believe that we as wedding photographer end up, or should end up, in learning something more than getting a bank deposit. It’s people coming from far away, this time was Siria. Learning, understanding, observing and listening. Doing this in this wonderful location makes it really better and better.
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