Villa Carlotta, on Lake Como, is one of the impressive villas on the Italian lakes

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Visit Villa Carlotta

Villa Carlotta, perhaps the most famous of the villas of northern Italy, is in the town of Tremezzo on the west side of Lake Como,

Explore Villa Carlotta

Italy This Way comment: Villa Carlotta is probably our favourite of the villas on the Italian lakes, because as well as the extensive and well maintained gardens, the villa also contains numerous intersting artworks and features.

Villa Carlotta was built at the end of the 17th century in an impressive location with the lake in front and mountains behind, although there is quite a busy road between the villa and Lake Como so you are never actually walking along the lakeside when you visit the villa.

Flower border in the gardens of Villa Carlotta

The villa itself is large and perhaps not beautiful but it is quite attractive, with an extensive Italian garden between the villa and the lake that includes numerous stairways, sculptures and fountains as well as a formal garden planting arrangement. In later centuries the gardens were extended greatly and now include large areas of gardens in different styles.

When you enter the grounds of the villa you are given a leaflet that shows two alternative routes you can follow through the gardens. We recommend you follow the longer path unless it is not practical for you. Allow at least an hour, and preferably quite a lot longer if you want to stop and enjoy the views and the gardens.

As you explore you will disover the bamboo garden, camellias, anient sequoias, a woodland with rhdodendrons and a valley of ferns among the highlights. The formal areas next to the villa are also very pretty. The gardens are most famous for the azaleas and rhododendrons that flower in the spring but there are plenty of other plants to provide interest all year around.

Villa Carlotta: the interior

After exploring the gardens you can visit the villa. We had expected the gardens to be a pleasure to visit, but had not realised that Villa Carlotta also contains a fascinating colletion of art objets.

The ground floor of the villa is mostly used as an exhibition space for statues and sculptures, many in marble. As you continue through the villa you will also see numerous paintings, friezes, tapestries and more contemporary artworks. Some rooms are also furnished in period style.

You also need to look at the ceilings, which are often extraordinary works of art. Downstairs some of the rooms have elaborately painted ceilings incorporating statues and characters from history, and even upstairs in the bedrooms the ceilings have often been painted with elaborate and colourful paintings.

One other highlight of your visit to the inside of Villa Carlotta is the lovely views across the gardens to Lake Como.

Painted ceiling inside Villa Carlotta

Attractions nearby

You should find time for a walk along the banks of Lake Como in the town of Tremezzo after your visit to Villa Carlotta.

Another very impressive villa - the Villa Balbianello - that has been used as a film setting on several ocasions - can be reached by boat or footpath from Lenno. Other villas popular with visitors include Villa Mylius Vigoni at Menaggio, and Villa Melzi and Villa Serbelloni at Bellagio.

Among our favourite villages in this part of Lake Como are Bellagio, Menaggio and Varenna. You can see more in our Lake Como guide.

You can find more local travel ideas in the Como guide and the Lombardy guide.

See also:

Map of Villa Carlotta and places to visit

Places to visit near Villa Carlotta

Tremezzo

Tremezzo

Tremezzo on Lake Como is visited for a walk along the lake and a visit to Villa Carlotta and its beautiful gardens

Tremezzo guide

Bellagio

Bellagio

The harbour village of Bellagio is a pretty village on the shores of Lake Como in Lombardy

Bellagio guide

Lenno

Lenno

Lenno is a picturesque small town and harbour on Lake Como, near the Villa Balbianello

Lenno guide

Menaggio

Menaggio

Menaggio, on the western shore of Lake Como, is a pretty town and well placed to explore the lake

Menaggio guide

Villa Balbianello

Villa Balbianello

Villa Balbianello is a lovely villa on eastern Lake Como, used as a location in Star Wars II.

Villa Balbianello guide

Ossuccio

Ossuccio

Ossuccio is a small village with two historic churches on Lake Como

Ossuccio guide