Villa Monastero is located in Varenna on Lake Como and its name derives from the original function of the building, from the thirteenth century until 1567 was used as a place of retreat for the Cistercensian nuns of St. Maria Maddalena.
In 1569 the monastery was bought by the noble Paul Mornico who transformed it into a private residence, from 1609 to 1645 Leila Mornico, Paul's son, restored his father's house until it becomes a sumptuous villa called Lailana.
In 1862 the villa passed to Peter Genazzini, in 1876 to Carolina Maumary Massimo D'Azeglio's sister-in-law, in 1897 to German industrialist Erich Walter Jacob Kees, who restored it again embellished and widened until it reached its current appearance.
The last owner of the villa was Marco de Marchi in 1836 he enriched it again bringing his own works, and when he died it began a property of the state through his wife who created an Hydrobiology Institute.
In 1977 the institute was incorporated into the National Research Council, which still today owns the villa and the park that surrounds it.
The interior of villa Monastero consists of boardrooms that preserve the beautiful furniture, artwork and collections of great value and for this Lombardy Region has recognized the villa as a house museum (open to visitors since 2005). You can't miss the beautiful botanical garden that grows between the road and the lake and represents an extraordinary example of artificial system of land and furnishing.
In particular, look for Gian Battista Comolli's sculpture group, La Clemenza di Tito, which was started in 1823 but remained unfinished because the artist died in 1830.
The work, representing the Roman emperor Tito while he bestows his friend Sesto and Vitellia who had conspired against him, was dedicated as a gift from The Emperor Francesco Comolli of Austria who helped the artist, despite his alleged participation in the riots of 1821.
( source Viaggiatore.net )