Villa Olmo

The villa, built in neoclassical style, was commissioned from marquis Innocenzo Odescalchi and built up on a property of the XVII century, called "of the elm tree" for a secular tree, today not more existing.

Works began in 1782 under the directives of architect Innocenzo Ragazzoni but, subsequently, the Odescalchi turned to Simone Cantoni, architect of the neoclassical period that, thanks to his ability, succeded to create the noble building, finished in 1789. The following year, the dwelling was inaugurated by Napoleon, that came to Como with his wife Giuseppina and the sister Elisa. After the death of Odescalchi in 1824, the building passed to Giorgio Raimondi, that arranged the large square and built the dock. Because of his support to the uprising of Como in 1848, Raimondi had to run away in the Canton Ticino, while the palace was seized by the Austrians and transformed, with serious damage, in barracks. Re-entered in 1859, Giorgio Raimondi had, as a guest in villa Olmo Garibaldi; the general, winner in Saint Fermo, married the following year the daughter Giuseppina, but the wedding was cancelled by a court.

In 1882 the villa was sold to the duke Guido Visconti di Modrone. He arranged the access to the lake, modified the entrance hall, bursting open the ceiling, and built a small theatre that was frescoed from Ernesto Fontana. He enlarged the northern area of the park in English style and, in the garden in front of the building, he put a fountain. This marble fountain is formed from a wide basin in the middle of a grassland, in which there are two puttoes playing and dragging a kind of sea-monster.

In 1925 the villa was bought by the Townhall of Como, the great Voltiana Exposure inaugurated it in 1927, it was organized to celebrate the centenary of the death of the inventor of the battery, Volta, and from that moment the villa became the seat of cultural activities. Here concerts, shows, conferences and much more are organized. The central facade has five arches, over which six columns of ionic style with medallions representing philosophers; the building is crowned by a balustrade with eight statues and, in the middle, the coat of arms of duke Visconti di Modrone, overlapped by a crown in substitution of the original stone with the word Olmo(elm).

Also the inner disposition of the rooms and partially the decorations were renewed according to the the wishes of duke Visconti. In the interior, the wide entrance hall catches the eye and leads to the immense hall of the ground floor, with balcony; the other rooms are sumptuous too: the room of the Mirrors, the one of the Wedding, the one of Diana and the room of the Music.


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