Lake Como Italy: Villa Vigoni & more
Villa Vigoni is located in Menaggio on Lake Como (Italy) and has a fascinating history, which goes back to the 18th century when Heinrich Mylius, a German young entrepreneur, moved from Germany to Milan to represent his family’s business interest, a commercial import-export house with its headquarters in Frankfurt. He was a really successful man, in a few years, he was able to accumulate a fortune and to expand his business activities into fabrics and colonial products opening several branch offices in Italy and abroad.
Besides the economic circles, he was passionate about art, music, literature: in fact, he had the pleasure to meet Massimo D’Azeglio, Francesco Hayez, and Alessandro Manzoni. After marrying Friederike Schnauss, a cultivated lady and amateur painter Heinrich Mylius was introduced to the court of the Archduke, Carl August, where he met personalities such as Goethe, Schiller, and Herder.
In this period, Mylius connected the Italian culture with the German one, by giving funds to schools, libraries, and prizes in Frankfurt. In Milan, he founded the first technical school named “Società d’Incoraggiamento d’Arti e Mestieri”.
Enrico Mylius, interested about Lake Como silk trade, bought Villa Vigoni for the wedding of his son, Giulio Mylius with Luigia Vitali, the descendant of an aristocratic Milanese family, however, his son died soon after the wedding and the villa was used as a place for memory and culture where Luigia spend the rest of her life, even when she married Ignazio Vigoni senior (1808 – 1860).
The last descendant of the Villa, Ignazio Vigoni (1905 – 1983), decided to donate the villa to the German Federal Republic because of the past events which linked Germany with Mr. Mylius. From then on, the villa is the quarter of the German-Italian Center for European Excellence with the aim of facilitating Italian-German relations in science, education, and culture. In fact, the villa hosts numerous seminars and events linked with all these subjects.
Inside the villa, there are prestigious and refined rooms, such as the Statues Hall, the Grisailles Hall, the Small Library, the Music Hall and the Fireplace Hall. In the summer season, new meeting spaces are opened: the terraces – from which you can enjoy a magnificent panorama of the lake – and the English park, where you can walk among sculptures and old trees. The old stables now host the Central Library, which can also be used for seminars and work sessions.
Not to be missed, is a visit to the park surrounding the villa: created by the landscape architect Giuseppe Balzaretto around 1860, it is like an amphitheater, over an area of about 8 hectares and represents one of the best examples of Romantic gardens that are still preserved in Lombardy. Strolling among maritime pines, maples, cypresses, large cedars of Lebanon and a wide variety of essences, statues, and temples, visitors are immersed in an oasis of peace and beauty.
Villa Vigoni and the park can be visited from March to October (except August). The visit (Thursday only) takes place either in Italian, in English or German depending on the majority of the participants. The meeting point is at the entrance of Villa Mylius-Vigoni. The starting time is at 2.30 p.m. for about 1 hour and a price of 10 Euros for adults and 7 Euros for under 18 and retired people.
The visit is an immersion into the life of the family, full of love, full of remembrance and way to express affection. highly recommended!