A Virtual Tour Through Magnificent Flowering Gardens
Villa Carlotta is one of Lake Como’s most visited villas covering a site of over 70,000 square meters. It has an immense garden of over 500 species and varieties of plants, trees and flowers as well as sensual masterpieces by Canova and Hayez, original furnishings and magnificent Lake Como tapestry.
The villa is located right on Lake Como’s main road Via Regina 2 in the heart of Tremezzo and is easily accessible by car, ferry or the C10 bus.
Best Times to Visit
The best times to visit Villa Carlotta are in the spring when the rhododendrons and azaleas are in full bloom (end of April and beginning of May). The weather in Lake Como Italy is also the most pleasant around this time.
But keep in mind that it can get quite crowded around this time as mobs of tourists come to see the fascinating rainbow of colors in the garden.
History of the Villa
Although Villa Carlotta had begun its construction in 1690 by a Milanese banker (Giorgio Clerici), it was not named Carlotta until it was sold to princess Marianne Nassau (daughter of King William I of the Netherlands and wife to Prince Albert of Prussia), who bought it as a gift to her daughter Charlotte on the occasion of her marriage to the crown-prince of Saxe-Meiningen.
A common misnomer: The large “C” embedded into the front gates, is actually meant to honor the first founder of the villa, Giorgio Clerici and not Carlotta.
Most of the works of art were brought in during the ownership of Giovanni Battista Sommariva, a rather unscrupulous lawyer who purchased the villa in 1801.
The garden was largely designed and seeded by Charlotte’s husband – the crown prince of Saxe-Meiningen.
How to See Villa Carlotta
You can start by visiting the 2 floors of the villa which are joined by a spiral staircase and a small lift.
You will feel a tingle of romance after wandering through the small but significant collection of masterpieces found inside the villa such as the magnificent marble sculptures from the workshop of Antonio Canova as well as a few paintings by Franceso Hayez’s such as the famous portrayal of The Last Kiss from Romeo and Juliet.
Remember to look up at the ceilings when visiting the lovely, furnished bedrooms, in order to get a glimpse of the baroque style. You can also step outside on the small terrace from the 2nd floor and take amazing panoramic photos of Bellagio.
The outdoor gardens extend considerably from the left and right sides of the villa. As you exit the villa’s front doors, you can immediately turn left to visit the larger side of the garden, where you will pass by the azaleas, rhodendrons, Japanese maples, palm trees, bamboos an entire rainforest and much more.
Hours of Operation
Lake Como Italy’s Villa Carlotta has two different hours of operation depending on which month you will be visiting. See below to find the exact times the villa and its gardens will be open.
9:00 – 16:30 (but closed between 12:00 – 14:00)
All of October
9:00 – 18:00
From April to September
Although photography is not permitted inside the villa, you can buy postcards of any of the paintings/sculptures as well as a book which contains detailed information.
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