Villa Visconti Borromeo Litta at Lainate, 16th-century splendour: gardens and grottoes with 21st-century appeal

villa, visconti, borromeo, litta, lainate, milano, italia, giardini, grotte, giochi d'acqua

First published on Twitter on 14 August 2014, using a photo I has taken when I visited Villa Litta — or Villa Visconti Borromeo Arese Litta — to give it its full full name, in 2011, this “tweet” is fast becoming an evergreen. I am not sure why, although I am very grateful, but people keep finding and retweeting it. The latest being Grandi Giardini Italiani, who tweet as @GrandiGiardini in Italian, and as GreatItalianGardens in English.

Located at Lainate, which is not exactly easy to get to by public transport, even if it is only 20 km from Milan (and obviously not to be confused with the airport, which is Linate, and is in quite the opposite direction), and open only Sunday afternoons from May to the end of October, Villa Litta is an elusive beauty.

Famous for its gardens with splendid statuary, as well as the grottoes with water-games, some of which have been restored, the villa is surely worth a visit. Since, at the time of writing, that’s not possible for another six months, why not have a look at the appropriate page, which includes photos and videos, on the  site of the Grandi Giardini Italiani (Great Italian Gardens) association. This member organization includes 120 other outstanding gardens, both in Italy and in the Italian-speaking Canton Ticino in Switzerland, the latest addition being Italy’s largest bamboo maze, created at Fontanellato, a few km from Parma, by Franco Maria Ricci, the creator of FMR magazine.

No promises but, if I get round to it, I may add some more of my photos. The place is amazing and, although the pix aren’t great, they should act as a spur to look up those bus time-tables. Or, from Milan, just take the A8 highway to the, yes, Lainate exit, where the A9 branches off for Varese.