Historically it is the first English garden designed on Lake Como. It was realized between 1811 and 1815 by The Canonica (he designed the Arena in Milano) and The Villoresi. Together they had already designed the Park of Villa Reale in Monza. The architects’ great competence and their genius made the park look bigger than its real size thanks to the flattening or raising of small hills; even the distribution of the greenery though apparently natural was the result of extensive studies to create a deceptive optical vision of backgrounds and distances.

The building of the garden caused however the elimination of the municipal old paved road running along the lake from the village to San Giovanni. It was substituted with a magnificent private plane trees avenue. On

the other hand the Melzis paid charges to the municipality to build an alternative, but winding and quite uncomfortable road on the hillside.

People from Bellagio didn’t like this exchange and they showed their dislike by kicking the iron impassable obstacle every time they passed by the gate to Villa Melzi on their usual Sunday walk. If the garden is a wonder the Villa is equally wonderful. Commissioned by Francesco Melzi d’Eril, Napoleon Bonaparte’s friend and collaborator, the villa preserves in its rooms masterpieces by Van Dick, Rubens, Appiani who painted the only portrait Napoleon posed for.


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