Villa Olmo in Como: the palace on the lakeSeptember 16, 2014
Villa Olmo is the most famous and magnificent among the stately homes you can find in the territory of Como. It is an imposing neoclassical building, designed by the architect Simone Cantoni; the marquis Innocenzo Odescalchi commissioned it, at the end of the Eighteenth century. The house was built on the western shore of Lake Como, to serve as the summer residence of the Marquis. Cantoni worked as the interpreter of a very modern, educated and progressive aristocratic class, applying the Enlightenment principles to his project.
The name of the building is due to a giant elm tree that stood out in front of the entrance. At the time the palace was built, the tree was already more than a century old and today, sadly, it no longer exists. However, the house is still surrounded by greenery: the facade of the building overlooks a beautiful Italian garden, while the back is occupied by an English park. Tall and old trees characterize both the one and the other.
The interior of the villa is full of period frescoes, statues, decorations and antique furniture. The rooms of the building are open to visitors, except for particular occasions.
Many famous people came to Villa Olmo and found shelter there, such as Napoleon, Giuseppe Garibaldi and Ugo Foscolo. A small medallion, standing on a fireplace in one of the ground floor’s lounges, marks Garibaldi’s stay in Villa Olmo.
The building has had various owners over the decades: the Odescalchi family sold it to the Raimondis and it later passed to the Visconti di Modrone. In 1824, after the death of Innocenzo Odescalchi, the villa passed to the Raimondi family, who arranged to accommodate the square in front of the building. In 1883, Marquis Raimondi’s heirs then sold the villa to Duke Guido Visconti di Vimodrone, who decided to carry out a general improvement and restoration. In particular, the stables and the porch jutting into the lake were demolished, while a theater was built. The staircase also acquired the most value, thanks to the creation of a double balcony.
In 1925, the house became property of Como’s town and nothing has changed since then. The local administration periodically uses the villa’s rooms to host cultural events, conferences and art exhibitions.
Villa Olmo is open from Monday to Saturday at the following times: from 9:00 am to 12:30 pm and from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm. The surrounding park is open from 7:30 am to 7:00 pm during winter months and from 7:30 am to 11:00 pm in summer. For information and bookings, please call: +39 031 252 352