Search

Villa Carlotta, The Ultimate Guide

Villa Carlotta

Villa Carlotta:  Lake Como’s finest art collection, enveloped by heavenly gardens

A stone’s throw away from Villa del Balbianello, in the gorgeous village of Tremezzina, there’s another place where charm is at home: Villa Carlotta. It is one of Lake Como’s most renowned landmarks, as it features a rare combination of unique vistas, fine art and blossoming gardens, thanks to which Villa Carlotta became famous in Italy and all over the world.

Its symbol, the magnificent statue of Cupid and Psyche, has become a universal emblem of passion and love, emotions that permeate every corner of Lake Como and those lucky enough to visit it.

Your quest for beauty is over: welcome to Villa Carlotta.

Villa Carlotta: a history of glory and magnificence

Villa Carlotta was commissioned and built in the 17th century by the Marquis Giorgio Clerici II, but it is in the 18th century that the villa became as gorgeous as it is nowadays, being embellished with a variety of fountains, statues and Italian-style gardens. In 1801, the villa was sold to Giovanni Battista Sommariva, the last heir of a noble and powerful family from Milan. Mr. Sommariva was the president of the Governing Committee of the Cisalpine Republic (1797–1802) established by Napoleon Bonaparte in northern Italy, but he also had quite a thing for art. Sommariva removed heaps of furniture and ornaments from his century, to replace them with a consistent portion of his private art collection, including sculptural masterpieces by Berthel Thorvaldsen and Antonio Canova.

Villa Carlotta soon became celebrated all around Europe, attracting personalities such as Flaubert and Stendhal. It is in 1843, however, that the villa truly became what we can witness nowadays: bought by Princess Marianne of Nassau, she named it “Villa Carlotta” after gifting it to her daughter, Charlotte, when she married the Grand Duke George Von Sachsen-Meiningen.

The couple carefully looked after their wedding gift, enriching its collection with the finest furniture at the time, and adding manifold botanical examples (azaleas, rhododendrons, ferns, etc.) that still thrives nowadays in Villa Carlotta’s gardens.

The villa passed under the control of the Italian State in 1921 and, in 1927, it was incorporated by the newborn Ente Villa Carlotta, a private body responsible of preserving and promoting the villa and the central area of Lake Como.

Villa Carlotta: discover an oasis of art and nature

Lush, verdant outdoor spaces matched by glorious interiors and artworks make Villa Carlotta a true paradise for anyone seeking to experience the elegance Lake Como is famous for. Let’s discover together the villa’s most exciting activities.

Wander through the enchanted botanical garden

A universe of colors, visions and scents. Villa Carlotta is surrounded by 70,000 square meters of gardens, inhabited by some of the most beautiful vegetal species of the world.

The park is divided in different areas: the Italian Garden, a timeless classic of Lake Como, finds its perfect harmony  in geometry and variety, from statues, terraces and stairs, to the soul-lifting richness of its floral elements: camellias, roses and the picturesque citrus tunnels.

LCE tip: the best season to visit Villa Carlotta, needless to say, is spring! For the occasion, the villa wears her fanciest dress, colored by blooming of camellias, rhododendrons and other flowers. Plus, during spring,  the climate is just perfect , and you’ll be able to enjoy Lake Como without the hustle and bustle of the summer months.

The gaudy colors of the playful Hydrangeae seduce the visitors of the Romantic Gardens, rapturing their hearts with the intense personality of the azaleas, the pièce de résistance of Villa Carlotta’s gardens. The park, however, is also a triumph of wilderness: tropical plants (patchouli, ficus, cinnamon, etc.)  and a bamboo garden thrive on the eastern side of the park, while the mysterious valley of ferns homages Lake Como’s natural beauty.

Savor the sweet taste of neoclassical art

The art collection created by Giovanni Battista Sommariva has been preserved up to the present day, and it represents Villa Carlotta’s main source of pride. It hosts some of the world’s most famous masterpieces: the passionate and dramatic embrace between Cupid and Psyche is eternally captured  in the homonymous marble statue, created by Antonio Canova and reproduced by his favorite pupil, Adamo Tadolini. If Cupid and Psyche is the crown jewel of the sculptural collection, the celebrated Last Kiss of Romeo and Juliet, by Francesco Hayez is another jewel of Villa Carlotta, a sweet and melancholic hymn to love and romanticism.

Did you know? Cupid and Psyche original sculptures are exposed, respectively, at the Louvre Museum in Paris, and at the Hermitage in St. Petersburg. 

Ancient marbles and fine interior decorations can be also found around the villa, together with well-preserved porcelains, furniture and objects belonging to the old guests of Villa Carlotta, such as Princess Charlotte or Duke George II.

History and art sing a duetto of sweet harmonies, at Villa Carlotta.

Participate in Villa Carlotta’s activities

Villa Carlotta means beauty and relaxation, but also culture and reflection. That’s why it offers a wide range of educational activities for adults and kids, to be performed physically or online. A true journey through contemplation, in which you’ll be guided to discover yourself, and the unbreakable bond between human beings, nature and art.

Fun but structured activities are also available for all the family, or for special team building events. Experiences are offered in multiple languages and can be personalized: find out more here!

Make Villa Carlotta the scenery of your private event

How to transform the celebration for a life milestone, an important event or a photo shoot in something timeless and unique? Holding it at Villa Carlotta might be a good start.

The unrivaled sight of Lake Como’s stunning landscape, the fine interiors of the villa, the stunning gardens or the camellia terrace will be the framework of a living painting, which will have their guests and their special occasions as their protagonists.

Villa Carlotta is available for weddings, private parties, conferences, corporate events, and photoshoots.

Visit the official website for more information.

LCE tip: Book your stay at the gorgeous hotel Azalea,  binge on culture by visiting Villa Carlotta and Villa del Balbianello and, once you get hungry, jump onto your private Venetian Limousine and head to Bellagio for a 5-star aperitivo. The only limit to the experiences Lake Como has to offer will be your fantasy!

Recommended experience

Luxury boat tour lake como 2

PRIVATE BOAT CRUISE

Luxury Boat Tour in Lake Como

The E26 Classic is a sporty 8-meter luxury tender featuring a distinctive and refined style, striking the ideal balance between vintage charm and modern simplicity, seamlessly blending beauty with comfort.

Villa Carlotta Terrace

How to get to Villa Carlotta

Villa Carlotta dwells in Tremezzo, a fraction of the Tremezzina village, located on the western shore of Lake Como. It can be reached with a short trip from Como or Milan, thanks to multiple travelling options and a well-connected network of public transport and roads.

By Car

Ahh, la dolce vita! Is there any better way to experience Lake Como than driving through its roads, while contemplating its artistic and natural wonders?

From Milan, merge onto the A9 freeway (“Milano – Laghi”), exit at “Lago di Como” and, from the homonymous town, take the SS340 provincial road: Villa Carlotta is just 45 minutes away.

LCE Tip: there’s abundance of free and paid parking lots, in Tremezzina. During summer, however, the village can become crammed, to say the least.  We suggest saving time and stress by parking your car at the Autosilo (covered car park), located in via Peduzzi, at a 15-minute walk from Villa Carlotta…way less than the time usually required to find a closer parking lot!

By Train and Bus

A cheap and flexible option. The most straightforward route is the one from the station of Milano Cadorna, offering 1-hour trips to the station of Como Lago. Tickets can be purchased for €4.80, and the service is usually available twice per hour.

It’s equally easy to depart from the stations of Milano Garibaldi or Milano Centrale, which are directly connected to the station of Como S.Giovanni, for the same travel time and the same tariffs.

All the stations can be easily reached with the red or green metro lines.

Once in Como, the C10 bus line, available from Como S.Giovanni or just outside the Como Lago station, will, get you to Villa Carlotta in the blink of an eye (a little more than 1 hour, for a fare of €4.00).

By boat

One of Lake Como’s must-dos. From the Imbarcadero (the town’s pier), catch a ferry or a hydrofoil for Tremezzo: the trip will take, respectively, 1 hour and a half or 40 minutes. Ticket prices start from €10.40 for adults, and surcharges (from €1.40 up to €4.90) are normally applied for hydrofoils: have a look at the official website of Navigazione Laghi  in order to plan the perfect trip.

Fancying a trip to total privacy and luxury? Lake Como Experiences suggests renting a private Riva speedboat: a traveling experience that just a few privileged ones have the pleasure to enjoy.

Mars & Venus - Luigi Acquisti - 1805
Villa Carlotta Garden

Villa Carlotta: useful info

Make the most of your visit at Villa Carlotta, thanks to the tips and tricks Lake Como Experiences put together for you!

Opening Period and hours

Villa Carlotta is usually open from mid-March to November,  from 10.00 am to 7.00 pm; the last tickets are sold at 6.00 pm. Opening dates and hours are punctually announced on the official website.

Tickets and Tours

Purchasing a ticket grant Villa Carlotta’s visitors to access the museum and the gardens. Guided tours are not comprised in the fare, but they can be specifically requested (see “Contacts”).

Individual standard tickets can be purchased for €12,00, with discounts applied for seniors, students, kids and large group. For a complete overview, have a look at this page.

Get in touch with Villa Carlotta

The official address is Via Regina, 2 – 22016 Tremezzina – Loc. Tremezzo, Como.

Telephone: (+39) 0344 40405

Info and reservations: segreteria@villacarlotta.it

Events: eventi@villacarlotta.it

Educational services: prenotazionididattica@villacarlotta.it