Legacy of an aristocratic epoch and jealous of its noble atmosphere, Villa Melzi has retained until today its role of private abode. Built in 1808 in a characteristic and austere neoclassical style, the villa was property of Francis Melzi of Eryl, milanese, gran chancellor of the Kingdom of Italy and close friend of Napoleon. Many illustrious personalities have sojourned at the villa, amongst which Franz Liszt, Stendhal, the Emperors of Austria Francis I and Ferdinand, viceroy Eugenio Beauharnais and tsarina Feodorowna. Strange to say, but Napoleon preferred to holiday at Villa Pliniana instead. The collection of art treasures is mostly influenced by the predilection of the Romantics for exoticism and nostalgia for the past, typical trait of the great villas of the lakes of Lombardia. The villa has a Moorish-style kiosk, a funerary monument with a portal in Renaissance style, the Egyptian sphinxes of the goddess Sekhnet, several Roman relics, an Etruscan urn, a Greek stele, a drawing by Van Dick, a Moor by Rubens and a Venetian gondola that was brought to Bellagio under the orders of Napoleon. Franz Liszt draw inspiration from this garden for his sonata D'après une lecture du Dante, while walking side by side with Maria d'Agoult and delighting in the enchanting and peaceful atmosphere of the lake. Liszt named her daughter Cosima (born on the lake on Christmas Eve, 1837) out of his great love for the Lake of Como. Cosima would later on marry musician Richard Wagner.
Moorish style kiosk and the sculpture group of Dante and Beatrice exalted by Franz Liszt.
The Venetian gondola and the small collection of Napoleonic memorabilia.
The Japanese style pond in October.