Tuesday, May 14, 2013
VILLA PASSALACQUA - THE GARDEN OF LAKE COMO
Villa Passalacqua is among the most prestigious Historic villas in the Como area, featuring an Italian-style garden with scenic terraces sloping towards the lake. The villa has played host to important figures, including the composer Vincenzo Bellini, who drew inspiration for a least two of his most famous operas, "La Sonnambula" and "Norma". The villa was built in the 18th century by Felice Soave, a Swiss architect from Lugano. Hidden beyond its austere exterior are elaborate interiors with stuccos and decorations by an artist from the Lugano area, Giocondo Albertoli, with frescoes by the Milanese artist Andrea Appiani. The Villa is circled by a lawn terrace, on which there is a gazebo and a well-curb, ball-shaped box trees, pools with bronze statues and symmetrical flower beds. A staircase descends from here to meet the double driveway that comes up from the lakeside entrance. The driveway's mirrored cuves design large plots of grass or star jasmine (unconventional as ground cover), made vibrant with ancient oleandera, palm trees, azaleas, wisteria, a small waterfall. The current owners have turned the large open spaces outside of the path into fascinating themed gardens: if we turn our backs to the villa, from up down, on the right we come across the swimming pool with a greenhouse, a rose garden, an olive grove and a cutting garden; on the left are the " Tuscan Garden", with flower beds bordered by boxwood hedges, a fruit orchard, a vegetable garden and an annex. near the lakeside gate, the water flowing through the garden collects in a pool with water lilies. The impeccably cared for garden is fascinating on its own, but it is all the more spectacular for having been built on grand underground tunnels connecting the villa to the dock.
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