COMO: VILLA OLMO, Como: Villa Olmo

Audio File length: 2.59
English / USA Language: English / USA

Hi, I am Rick, your personal guide, and together with MyWoWo I’d like to welcome you to one of the wonders of the world: Villa Olmo.

The magnificent Villa Olmo owes its name to a centuries-old tree that once stood here.

You should know that this land was owned by the noble Odescalchi family as early as 1664, but construction of the villa did not begin until many years later, in 1782, when Marquis Innocenzo Odescalchi decided to build a summer residence on it, commissioning the architect Simone Cantoni, an expert in neoclassical forms, to design the project.

You can immediately recognize this style by observing the central body of the façade with its ten tall Ionic columns, among which five roundels with the faces of the Greek philosophers Plato, Solon, Thales, Socrates and Pythagoras stand out, as well as the statues depicting pagan divinities in the Italian-style garden in front of the villa, the work of the sculptor Francesco Carabelli.

When the property passed to Innocenzo Odescalchi's nephew, Marquis Giorgio Raimondi in 1824, the villa's twenty-year heyday began. It hosted such important figures as the Emperors of Austria Franz II and Ferdinand I and Princess Maria Theresa of Habsburg.

Everything went well until the marquis, in the second half of the 19th century, sided with the Savoys against the Austrians. The latter, in retaliation, exiled him to Switzerland and confiscated Villa Olmo, which was stripped of everything and turned into a barracks.

The palace's fortunes turned when it was purchased in 1883 by Duke Guido Visconti di Modrone, who made the important changes to which it owes its current appearance.

Under the guidance of the architect Emilio Alemagna, two protruding wings between the palace and the lake were demolished, the stables were rebuilt, a neoclassical temple was built in the English-style park behind the villa, the garden was embellished with new flower beds and a monumental fountain, and the Visconti coat of arms and eight statues were placed on top of the central body.

Inside, however, the entrance hall was enlarged to a height of three storeys and a small 90-seat theatre was built.

Since 1925, Villa Olmo has belonged to the Municipality of Como and, thanks to major restoration work, you can visit it and admire it in all its splendor.


I bid you farewell with an interesting fact: the poor Marquis Raimondi, in addition to being exiled, also suffered the shame of seeing his daughter Giuseppina repudiated by the well-known patriot Giuseppe Garibaldi, immediately after their marriage. Apparently, the newlywed was given a message in which he was probably told that his wife was expecting a child by her lover, the handsome lieutenant Luigi Caroli.



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