Villa Monastero

The First International Symposium on Life-Cycle Civil Engineering (IALCCE’08) will be held at Villa Monastero, an ancient patrician abode located in Varenna, a picturesque medieval village in a central position on the east coast of Lake Como.

Villa Monastero is one of the most interesting examples of eclectic style residence on the Lake Como. Originally built to accommodate the cistercensian monastery of Santa Maria, first quoted in a document dated 1208, the building has become a patrician residence without damaging the traces of its history. The continual transformation interventions from the end of XIX and the beginning of XX century have added functional and decorative elements by increasing the original beauty of this place. Directly located on the lake shore, the villa is surrounded by a beautiful botanical garden, also decorated with architectural elements like tortile columns and balustrades facing the lake. Since 1963 the villa is an international cultural and scientific centre.

The Congress Centre is harmoniously included in the villa by preserving the original rooms with their own furnishings. The principal conference room, enriched by precious marbles, is called Fermi Room in the honor of the famous Nobel Prize winner who held lessons in Villa Monastero itself. Smaller rooms, containing antique furniture, precious tapestries and unique books, offer wonderful lake views.

A part of the villa is still reserved as a museum. A scenographic staircase, realized by using polychrome marble, ceramics and stucco, welcomes the visitors at the entrance by anticipating the beauty of sumptuous rooms with decorated ceiling, impressive chandeliers, man-made antique jewels, wood-inlaying tables, and also a Pompeian bathroom, called "King Farouk", very modern for that age.

The botanical garden is another famous attraction of Villa Monastero. Result of age-long work which transformed the steep slopes into a scenic design, the garden demonstrates the favourable climatic situation of Varenna by placing side by side typical lake trees, like cypresses, and exotic arboreal species imported by over the world. African and American palms, agaves, yuccas, dragon-trees, citrus trees and oleanders grow together with some other botanical rarities, by creating a very colourful spectacle especially during the spring flowering. The architectural elements in the garden also emphasize the enchanting scenery of the lake by offering private places to relax and join the poetical quiet of the landscape.

Photos reproduced with permission of the Istituzione Villa Monastero and of the
Associazione Coordinamento Turistico Lago di Como.
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