Tremezzo, or “middle land” as its name translates, is a small village of about 1,300 inhabitants that stands in part along the lakeside, with its 18th and 19th-century villas, and in part on the slopes of the mountains behind. Among the antique sumptuous villas that you find in the Tremezzo area outstands the world famous “Villa Carlotta” built around 1690 with its marvellous park with rare plants and trees of many kinds and interesting museum with its promenent art collection The splendid Olivelli Park, overlooking the lake, is crossed through by the famous Greenway walk. It is a peaceful green area to relax and take in the scenery.
From Menaggio we take the boat to Tremezzo (get off at the boat dock Villa Carlotta). The mid-lake shuttle will first touch Varenna and Bellagio before arriving at Tremezzo.
We get off the boat at the boat dock near the Villa Carlotta for a visit of this dwelling with its marvellous park with rare plants and trees interesting museum with its promenent art collection. In 1690, marquis Giorgio Clerici built an imposing but sombre residence with an Italian garden in a hollow between the lake and mountains. Its subsequent owner, Gian Battista Sommariva, adorned it with works of art and transformed part of the garden into a romantic park. In the mid-19th century the villa was given by Princess Marianne of Orange-Nassau to her daughter Charlotte on the occasion of her wedding to George II, Duke of Saxe-Meiningen. The latter was a botany enthusiast and he was the one who created the landscape garden that has made the villa famous. It covers 70,000 m² and boasts exquisite huge trees, 150 varieties of rhododendrons and azaleas, ancient camellias and exotic plants. Its wealth of treasures continues inside the villa with precious works of art on the ground floor, in particular sculptures by Canova and his school, paintings by Hayez and Wicar, a frieze by Thorwaldsen, and meticulously preserved original furnishings on the main floor. There are two picnic areas in the gardens of Villa Carlotta, one of which is covered, as well as a cafeteria and a playground for children.
After visiting the Villa Carlotta we follow the lakeside promenade southwards. Along the way we meet the sumptuous Grand Hotel Tremezzo (1910). The hotel still retains Art Nouveau settings and decorations and a suite dedicated to Greta Garbo, who often stayed here and whom, in the film Grand Hotel (1932) defined the Palace “that sunny, happy place”. Following are the Sampietro porticoes, under which there are shops, restaurants and cafes and, at number 22, inside the sober Villa Mainona, the “Ecomuseo del Paesaggio Lago di Como”. The museum is dedicated to the environmental, historical and cultural peculiarities of Lake Como and of its landscape.
We then reach Olivelli Park. Overlooking the lake, this beautiful and romantic green area was redeveloped and transformed into a Baroque Italian garden, by the Rationalist architect Pietro Lingeri around 1925. It has a double monumental staircase and grand fountain with statues. The unusual “Tarocchiera” is an octagonal 18th-century building that is currently used as an exhibition space. A staircase, which is also fitted with a simple shower, provides direct access to the lake for a cooling swim.
Continuing the itinerary, we meet on the right two sumptuous villas: the seventeenth-century Villa Carlia, an elegant building with sombre lines (now divided into residential apartments) preceded by a long staircase and surrounded by an elegant park and the Villa Sola Cabiati formerly “La Quiete” dating back to the early eighteenth century with a magnificent Italian garden, wrought iron gate and rich interiors. The residence is now a luxury resort.
We retrace our steps to the landing stage in Tremezzo (in front of Hotel Bazzoni) for the return to Menaggio or to continue our trip.
Directions & Parking
By public transport
Boat tickets can be purchased on-line (www.navigazionelaghi.it) or at the Navigazione ticket office at Menaggio. You could decide to buy a day ticket for the central lake area which includes Menaggio, Varenna, Bellagio, Cadenabbia and Tremezzina (the boat docks at Villa Carlotta, Tremezzo and Lenno).