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.
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.
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.
Map of Villa Carlotta and places to visit
Places to visit near Villa Carlotta
See more places nearby in the Lombardy guide