A colorful, profuse display of flowers and vegetation; a magnificent, elegant house by the lake; a stunning backdrop of mountains: Villa Carlotta sure features among Lake Como’s must-see attractions.
Set in a natural basin between the lake and the mountains, the villa was built for the Milanese marquis Giorgio Clerici in 1690, which also commissioned the design of a splendid Italian-style garden, with staircases, fountains and sculptures. The property extends over 17 acres in Tremezzo, facing the Bellagio peninsula.
The next, Gian Battista Sommariva, bought the villa in the early 19th century and embellished it with works of art by the likes of Canova, Thorvaldsen and Hayez, while transforming part of the garden into a stunning and romantic park.
Ancient varieties of camellias, centuries-old cedars and sequoias, large planes and fragrant tropical plants surround visitors strolling the garden, which is especially famous for the spring blossoming of the rhododendrons and azaleas, which appear in more than 150 varieties.
The villa’s museum is particularly impressive with its collection of statues that include such Canova's masterpieces as Palamede, Amore e Psiche (replica), Tersicore, La Maddalena Penitente, and Hayez’s The last Adieu of Romeo and Juliet.
To make the most of your time at Villa Carlotta, consider booking a guided tour.
Villa Carlotta also makes for a stunning wedding location.