Villa Menafoglio Litta Panza, near Varese, was built in the 18th century as a “villa di delizia” – meaning a place for pleasure, meant simply for the enjoyment of beauty, in all of its expressions.
Two centuries later – and after changing owners and being renovated a few times, most recently by architect Luigi Canonica, who enlarged and transformed the building between 1829 and 1831 – pleasure is once again the main purpose of the villa.
In 1956, its rooms started filling with works of contemporary art thanks to the efforts of a dynamic and passionate new owner, Count Giuseppe Panza di Biumo – one of Italy’s major art collectors at the time.
Informal art, abstract expressionism, pop art, minimalism, and conceptual art started to populate the elegant abode, settling in next to furniture from the 16th century and Pre-Columbian and African artifacts.
James Turrell and Dan Flavin created works of art just for these spaces, during their stays here.
One hundred minimalist sculptures – mainly from American artists such as Lawrence Carroll, Allan Graham, Phil Sims, and Ford Beckman – took residence in this luxury retreat in Biumo Superiore, now owned by FAI (Fondo Ambiente Italiano).
All of this contributes to making Villa Litta a delightful place, where without a doubt beauty is at home.