Great conductor Arturo Toscanini used to spend the weekend at Villa Arconati – and even sublime composer and violinist Antonio Vivaldi stayed here more than once, perhaps enjoying a stroll among ostriches and peacocks in the garden, which is still largely intact.
The magical atmosphere of this delightful villa – just fifteen kilometers north of Milan, inside the 3,000 hectares of the Groane Park, in the municipality of Bollate – was probably imbued with musical inspiration.
Also known as Castellazzo, and considered an Italian-style rendition of Louis XIV’s Versailles, Villa Arconati flaunts a magnificent architectural and decorative structure dating back to the 18th century, which place it among the most beautiful examples of Lombard baroque style.
The historic villa in Bollate was built by collector Count Galeazzo Arconati, who at the time owned the beautiful marbles of Gaston de Foix’s funerary monument by Bambaia (currently in the Sforza Castle Museums), Leonardo’s famous “Codex Atlanticus” (now in Milan’s Biblioteca Ambrosiana), and a mysterious statue known as “Pompey the Great”, still at the villa, which is said to be the very monument under which Julius Caesar was stabbed to death.
Just outside Milan, an unexpected wonder.