Villa Melzi is one of the most famous villas on Lake Como, located in the municipality of Bellagio, owned by the Melzi d'Eril family, today of its Gallarati Scotti branch, proclaimed, with the surrounding property, a national monument. Villa Melzi offers visitors the opportunity to relax immersed in the nature of its spectacular vast park, in its English gardens and among the colors of flowering plants.
The gardens of Villa Melzi extend along the lake shore and fit harmoniously into the hilly framework of the Bellagio peninsula which divides the two branches of the Lario.
Inside them the villa, the chapel and the greenhouse of the orange trees, now set up as a historical museum, are a splendid expression of neoclassical style, and as such declared a national monument.
The complex was built between 1808 and 1810 for Francesco Melzi d´Eril, Duke of Lodi, vice president of the Italian Republic with Napoleon and, subsequently, great chancellor of the Italian Kingdom.
He entrusted the task to the architect Giocondo Albertolli, an exponent of neoclassicism, who asked for a villa with a sober and elegant appearance, whose simple lines and volumes highlighted the wonderful surrounding landscape even more.
Dwelling of Melzi at the end of his political career and his summer residence until his death, the villa was decorated and furnished by the most famous artists of the time: in addition to Giocondo Albertolli, author of most of the furnishings and interior decoration, the painters are noted Andrea Appiani and Giuseppe Bossi, Alessandro Sanquirico, the sculptors Antonio Canova, Giambattista Comolli, Pompeo Marchesi and the bronze artist Luigi Manfredini ..
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 Royal villa of Monza.
In the old orangery, the greenhouse where orange trees were planted in winter, today there is the museum which contains precious relics and prints of the Napoleonic period, archaeological collections, paintings and family memories.