Villa Carlotta is one of the many impressive grand villas located on the shores of Lake Como. Unlike many of them, this one is open to the public and cared for by a charitable foundation.
The three-storey house, which sits above a terraced garden, have splendid views of the Bellagio penninsula and the mountains. The building is well worth a visit in its own right, but it also has a botanical garden attached too it and houses an art collection that includes works by Canova, Migliaria, Hayez and Thorvaldsen. In addition to paintings and sculptures, there are over 470 plaster cameos and a large silk and wool tapestry. A rich assortment of antique furnitue from various epochs have been left in the villa by its previous owners, to the delight of modern-day visitors.
Visiting Villa Carolotta
Since 1927, Villa Carlotta has been cared for by the charitable foundation Ente Villa Carlotta. The villa and its garden is open to the public from late March to early December. More information about opening hours and entrance fees can be found at the official homepage.
Only two of the buildings three floors are open to the public. The bottom floor is where most of the displayed art is located. If you go up to the second floor, you can enjoy a beautiful view of Lake Como and the surrounding mountains and villages.
Where is it?
Villa Carlotta is located in Tremezzo on Lake Como, facing the Bellagio peninsula.
Tremezzo is a municipality within the Province of Como in the Lombardy region.
You will find Villa Carlotta on the western shore of Lake Como, between Mezzegra and Griante. The distance to the city of Como is approximately 20 km.
The botanical garden
The botanical garden covers approximately 20 acres, divided into several sections. Nearest to the villa, facing Lake Como, is an Italian section with neatly cut hedges and prim pergolas created from orange and camellia trees.
The slope down towards the lake is adorned with rhododendron and roughly 150 different azalea varieties.
In other parts of the botanical garden, you will find both European and exotic plants, including many different tree species, from palms to redwoods. There is also a 3,000 square meter bamboo garden, home to over two dozen bambo species.
What was previously an orangerie (green house for citrus plants) is now a museum for old farm tools.
Sculptures on display
Examples of sculptures that are on display in Villa Carlotta
|Mars and Venus||Luigi Acquisti||Made in 1805
Considered Luigi Acquisti’s masterpiece
|Eros and Psyche||Adamo Tadolini||Marble copy taken from the original model used by Antonio Canova. (The original is at the Hermitage museum in Saint Petersburg since it was commissioned by a Russian prince.)
The copy has been at Villa Carlotta since 1834.
|Palamedes||Antonio Canova||Commissioned by Sommariva.
Broken into several pieces in 1805 when Canova’s workshop was flooded by the Tevere River. Canova restored the sculpture in 1806-1808.
Has been at Villa Carlotta since 1819.
|The Entrance of Alexander the Great in Babylonia||Bertel Thorvaldsen||33 piece marble replica of a stucco sculpture created in 1812 for Napoleon’s visit to the Quirinale Palace in Rome.
Napoleon like the stucco sculpture so much that he ordered a marble replica for the Pantheon in Paris.
Napoleon fell from power before the work was completed, but in 1818 Sommariva decided to pay for its completion.
The marble pieces arrived to Villa Carlotta in 1818-1828. The last two characters are based on Thorvaldsen and Sommariva.
Paintings on display
Examples of paintings on display in Villa Carlotta
|The Reading of the VIth Book of the Aeneid||Jean-Baptiste Wicar||Oil painting
Commissioned by Sommariva in 1818
|The Last Adieu of Romeo and Juliet||Francesco Hayez||Commissioned by Sommariva in 1823|