I often hear of Milan as an industrial and grey city with few things to offer. That’s not true at all and this is not only about the most popular tourist areas, Milan actually hides great treasures which many people are not aware of, plenty of its beauty is hidden from the gaze of tourist or hasty citizen. And here I am writing about one of the most beautiful and luxurious villas dated back to the 1930s., lodged within the colours, the scents and the tranquillity of an amazing garden. A symbol of architecture and art in Milan. Even though it is right in the city center, it seems to be discreetly hidden in one of those corners and awaits to be discovered. I am sure you’ll be amazed at what you can experience there 😉.
Villa Necchi Campiglio, located in the neighborhood of Porta Venezia, belonged to the wealthy Necchi family who made a fortune in the production of the best sewing machines.
The legend of the origin of this Milanese villa has it that this noble family from Pavia was frequently guest in Milan. So, one day, after visiting an exhibition at Teatro alla Scala, they got lost because of the heavy fog and ended up in front of a sign “Land for sale”. Milan was much smaller at the time and surrounded by countryside. Without hesitation, taking it as a a sign of destiny, they bought the land the very next day with the aim of building their Milanese residence.
For nearly 70 years the villa was inhabited by Gigina Necchi, who married the aristocrat Angelo Campillo, and her sister Nedda. The couple never had children but they loved having guests and often important personalities of the time.
Thanks to the their generosity, in 2001 Villa Nechi was bequeathed the Italian Cultural Heritage Fund (FAI), that carried out the restoration and in 2008 transformed the building into a public museum house, preserving collections of artworks by Canaletto, Tiepolo, Carriera, Balla, Boccioni or De Chirico. Necchi sisters wanted to be ensure that after their death the villa would continue with its role of welcoming guests for many more years.
Villa Necchi is not about a boring house-museum where the interior objects are fenced and everything is saturated with the smell of antiquity, on the contrary, it seems that the owners are about to return from a trip and offer you a cup of tea. A very lively and modern atmosphere reigns here, a house that is almost a hundred years old but seems modern to us when we admire it today!
Today as it was then, the house has some very advanced features for its time. Each room of Villa Necchi Campiglio is a masterpiece in terms of decoration and design.
Villa Necchi Campiglio is a true example of rationalism in architecture, design lovers will surely appreciate the subtleties of its interior, for example, the veranda, with its gleaming stone floors and the verdant lushness; the bathroom clad in shiny tiles in midnight black.
One of the most famous architects in Milan, Piero Portaluppi, was invited for the realization of a dream villa. Interestingly, the financial costs were of little importance for the noble family, the order was to build a luxurious house for a comfortable life without any limitation of funds. So, freed from any creative or economic constraints, Portaluppi conceived a true country house in the middle of the city equipped with cutting-edge technology at that time, tennis court and heated swimming pool. The villa was built in record time from 1932 to 1935.
The villa’s internal layout, its design solutions and the impeccable combination of materials-everything here is just amazing. Imagine that here was built the first garage for four cars, elevators, dumbwaiter lifts, indoor intercoms, electrically operated glass, unusual sliding doors and the first private heated pool in Milan.
Moreover, here there were two parallel lives: the life of a wealthy family and the life of their house staff, for whom was built a separate staircase and was allocated a part of the house. It is remarkable that for the first time the pool was located right in front of the entrance and not, as had been customary, in the back courtyard.
💡 Interesting to know:
The villa Necchi was featured in Ridley’s Scott’s new film “House of Gucci” which doubles as Rudolfo Gucci’s home immersing the visitor in a glossy atmosphere.
Visiting the villa you will experience the timeless luxury of an Italian society home from the 1930s. Of course, I will not reveal you all secrets about this place, no story is comparable to what you can see with your own eyes, so when you are in Milan do not miss to take a tour of the villa or have a rest in the garden in the shade of the giant magnolias.
Villa Necchi Campiglio also hides a caffetteria where you can enjoy Italian dishes or sip a coffee in an elegant and relaxing atmosphere.
How to visit Villa Necchi:
Working hours: Wednesday-Sunday from 10:00 till 18:00
Address: via Mozart 14