We The Italians | Italian gardens and parks: Villa Arconati

Italian gardens and parks: Villa Arconati

Italian gardens and parks: Villa Arconati

  • WTI Magazine #168 Oct 21, 2023
  • 726

Villa Arconati, also known as the Castellazzo, is one of the historic mansions located in Bollate, in the hamlet of Castellazzo di Bollate. It is an example of late XVIII century Lombard baroque, and it is a national monument. The villa is located within the “Parco delle Groane”, on a corner of a large garden square, next to the courts and the church of the farming town of Castellazzo. The complex is surrounded by woods, heaths and cultivated land for about 200 hectares (494 acres).

The park developed around a previous core around the XVII century, reaching its peak in the XVIII. The main architect of the villa was Count Galeazzo Arconati, a famous collector.

The current design of the villa is due to Count Giuseppe Antonio Arconati who began his work on the park in 1742, when the Southwest wing was added to the villa, and the west façade plus the new south facade in the late Lombardy Baroque style were modeled.


The gardens were remodeled from the previous Italian style to the French style, building an audience in front of the new facade south and east. The structure of the gardens is very formal and has three main axes of perspective from which diagonal axes start. The interior of the gardens we can found berceaux, statues, pools, ponds and fountains.

The villa blends into the garden in a unique space, and is one of the few examples in Italy of French garden with its theaters and water games. The theater built in masonry and “immersed” into the countryside can create suggestions thanks to water games, fountains and sculptures. Thanks to hydraulic mechanisms, the Diana theatre can show the visitor most of the water games of the garden, while in the theater of the Andromeda jets depart from the floor and finally the water also accompanies the majestic dragons’ staircase linking the Grand Theatre with the parterre.