Villa Olmo, Como
Villa Olmo is definitely one of the best things that you must see during your stay in Como. The villa is located in the northwest part of the city, at the end of a 500-meter (546 yd) lakeside walk which connects it to the Aeroclub and Rationalist neighborhood. Villa Olmo is currently a prestigious location for conferences, events, and art exhibitions.
The villa is a perfect example of Italian classical style. Its elegance and charm didn’t go unnoticed by Napoleon Bonaparte and Giuseppe Garibaldi, who were two of the most notable guests of the villa.
Key features of Villa Olmo
The complex of Villa Olmo consists of the villa and the extensive gardens that surround it. When you look at the villa, you will immediately notice the neoclassical features that adorn it. The massive colonnade is decorated with tondos by sculptor Francesco Carabelli, which represent Plato, Solon, Thales, Socrates, and Pytaghoras, thus giving the building a magnificent appearance.
The interiors of Villa Olmo are rich in paintings, statues, and valuable stucco decorations. Points to mention are the amazing frescoes by Andrea Appiani and Domenico Pozzi, whose works focused on the representation of mythological figures (according to the tradition of Lombard villas and palaces). Among the beautiful halls of the villa is also a theater, which dates back to 1883 and provides perfect acoustics.
The Italian garden in front of Villa Olmo hosts some perfectly cared and symmetrical flowerbeds, in addition to a large fountain and several statues which represent pagan Gods. Instead, the public park behind the villa shows the typical features of an English garden, and is characterized by the presence of a small neoclassical temple. Visitors can relax under the shade of the ancient trees that populate this large and cozy park, before resuming their tour of the city.
Between the trees of Villa Olmo you will find the starting point of Chilometro della Conoscenza, a green pathway that connects the residence to other villas (such as Villa del Grumello) and several places of naturalist interest.
History of Villa Olmo
Villa Olmo is an imposing neoclassical residence that was built in the 1780s by architect Simone Cantoni, on behalf of Marquis Innocenzo Odescalchi. The villa was named after an elm planted in the middle of the garden, which is no longer there.
In 1797, the marquis welcomed notable people, such as Napoleon and the Italian writer Ugo Foscolo. In 1824, after the death of Innocenzo Odescalchi, Villa Olmo was acquired by Marquis Giorgio Raimondi. Raimondi made some improvements to the boathouse and brought the villa to its former splendor.
The marquis also received the visit of the last Holy Roman Emperor Francis II, Austrian Emperor Ferdinand I, and Giuseppe Garibaldi. In the 1880s, the villa became property of Duke Guido Visconti di Modrone. His family ordered the construction of the small theater, which was designed by architect Emilio Alemagna, and the fountain in front of the villa by Gerolamo Olofredi.
In 1925, after the death of Guido Visconti, Villa Olmo was acquired by the municipality of Como, which, since then, organizes events and art exhibitions.
Visitable: The villa is only open to the public during temporary exhibitions and events (visit is limited to the halls on the ground floor)
Opening times: During events: 9 am-12:30 pm, 2 pm-5 pm. Park is open, seven days a week, according to the following opening hours. October 1-April 24: 8 am-7 pm; April 25-September 30: 8 am-11 pm
Address: Via Simone Cantoni 1
Phone: +39 031 576169, +39 031 252 352 (Department of Culture of Municipality of Como)