Photography by Francesco Arena
The summer residence of the Erba family, made even more famous as the holiday home of the director Luchino Visconti, Villa Erba has a centuries-old garden park that is one of the largest and finest on the lake, and which is one of its most fascinating features. The greenery that is home to the Villa and the greenhouses has a very varied botanical collection. It has been a project to show species that include ornamental, rare, exotic and centuries’ old plants and trees, selected in such a way that the grounds can be enjoyed all year round. At the edge of the park, the lakeside promenade reveals a splendid view of the landscape of the first branch of the lake, in an area that has enchanted the whole of Europe with its beauty since the time of the Grand Tour.
Designed in the English style at the end of the 19th century, the park offers not only a romantic walk but also a fascinating botanical trail from which the visitor can admire centuries-old trees, collections of flowering shrubs, rare ornamental plants and elegant multicoloured flowerbeds. Over the years, carefully considered landscaping interventions have made Villa Erba's park an evergreen place, an area that blends the charms of the traditional and the contemporary. So it was that the small Zen garden came about, created by the Japanese master Yasuo Kitayama, while in 1988 the Congress Centre was designed by the architecture firm of Mario Bellini, and inspired by the design of the original greenhouses of Lake Como.
The park, together with the ancient villa and the congress centre, is an integral part of the Villa Erba exhibition complex, a unique place of worldwide importance that is ideal for any kind of public or private event.