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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Villa Ponti

In this aerial view you can see the proximity of Villa Ponti to both the lake and the statue 'Carlone'.

Villa Ponti is a splendid 18th-century villa of historical importance, located in the center of Arona, near the shore of Lago Maggiore and just a few steps from the large statue of San Carlo Borromeo. For the past 10 years it has also been a world-class art museum, hosting exhibitions displaying masterpieces by many of the greatest painters in the world. To date over 300,000 have already had the pleasure of visiting. But before its second life as a museum, Villa Ponti already had an impressive story to tell. This fine villa was built in 1760 on the ramparts of the fortress La Rocca by Bartolomeo Pertossi, a rich Flemish merchant and a supporter of Napoleon I, who was a guest there after the Egyptian campaign. Years later, the villa was renamed after the engineer Gian Giacomo Ponti, who was an assistant to Thomas Edison and who was born in this house on December 28th, 1878.

Although there were many renovations and alterations during the 19th century, the villa still retains a good part of its original core. Today, visitors enter through the baroque front, which is characterized by a monumental entrance flanked by small wrought iron balconies and windows embellished by metal gratings. The lookout tower, which was really built to hold the water tanks, is prominently visible. Inside the villa one is first greeted by a coffee bar, created out of a former arcade. The various halls now used for the exhibitions and concerts branch off from this main entrance. Some recent shows have featured the works of Raphael and Rembrandt, Picasso, Andy Warhol, and Renoir.

Outside, the building is surrounded by a large park with ancient beeches, silver cedars, magnolias, azaleas, and rhododendrons. The gardens date back as far as the villa itself, and last underwent a major redesign at the beginning of the 1900s.


Phone for further information and reservations for exhibits and concerts:

Villa Ponti
Via San Carlo, 63 - 28041 Arona (No)
Tel. +39.0322.44629


It's always a good time to discover some of the regions museums, large and small. Apart from Villa Ponti here are a few others that have already been mentioned in Stresa Sights:



photos courtesy of il lago maggiore.com

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