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The Villa

A eight-century-long history, a landscape with breathtaking views and a strong artistic component: this is Villa Monastero.

A bit of history

Villa Monastero is the result of the transformation of an ancient Cistercian women’s monastery dedicated to the Virgin Mary, built at the end of the 12th century. The Villa was owned by different owners – from Mornico of Valsassina, to Carolina Maumari, niece of Enrichetta Blondel, Alessandro Manzoni’s first wife, to Walter Kees, and finally to the Swiss-born De Marchi of Milan (after whom the multifunctional hall in Varenna is named). The De Marchi family was responsible for the extensive building and renovation work that over time gave the villa its current eclectic appearance.

In 1939 it was donated to the State by the De Marchi family with the obligation to preserve it and use it for cultural institutions of public benefit. Fourteen years later, in 1953, the Congress Centre was built; it still hosts cultural and scientific conferences, including the summer courses of the prestigious Italian School of Physics, which have been attended by more than 60 Nobel Prize winners.

Villa Monastero is

House Museum Botanical Garden Conference Centre

House Museum

The House Museum was built in 2003. The museum itinerary covers 14 rooms, allowing visitors to admire the original decorations and furniture. Among the most important rooms are the Sala nera, in neo-Renaissance style, the Sala della musica, the Salottino Mornico, the Sala rossa, with neo-Rococo tapestries and furnishings, and the Sala Fermi, where the physicist Enrico Fermi delivered his last lectures in 1954.

Botanical Garden

The crowning glory of this elegant building is the splendid Garden, rich in rare and exotic botanical species, which stretches for almost two kilometres along the lakefront from Varenna to Fiumelatte. Every year about 100,000 visitors immerse themselves in a journey of colours and scents, leisure and learning thanks to the presence of numerous rare native and exotic tree species – more than 900 species.

Conference Centre

This historic Larian residence is also home to the Conference Centre, internationally renowned for the physics lectures given in 1954 by Nobel Prize winner Enrico Fermi; every year the Italian Physics Society organises its courses at Villa Monastero. The Villa offers institutions, universities, companies, associations and research centres the opportunity to hold conferences, seminars, training courses, workshops and other cultural events in an extremely attractive location.

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