Flower Magazine

JAN-FEB 2019

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describes the colorful atmosphere that you could experience on the lake in this period: writers, musicians, and painters found inspiration for their works on the lake. Lake Como's fame also spread thanks to authors such as Manzoni, Goethe, and Stendhal, who in his Charterhouse of Parma described the marvels of the central lake area and the Tremezzina. At the turn of the century, the straight avenues, regular lines, and complex designs of the beds, staircases, and nymphaea, everything that until then had characterized the formal gardens, were practically all wiped out by the arrival of the landscape garden, whose principles became popular in Lombardy above all thanks to the remarkably successful work of Count Ettore Silva, Dell'arte de' giardini inglesi. With the advent of Neoclassical architecture, the villas became even more luxurious. Alongside the buildings that were modified according to the tastes of the time, other buildings were also erected from scratch. In this period, the art of gardens became consolidated and the green areas were no longer just an ornament, but interacted with the architecture and the environment, in a single, intricate dialogue. The passage to the Romantic climate of the nineteenth century took place in a less traumatic manner, and is seen in estates such as Villa Mylius Vigoni where the two "voices" live in harmony, narrating the sad events that marked the family's history. In the first half of the nineteenth century, the lake area came onto the international tourism circuits thanks to the development of communications which made it easier to get to. In 1826, the new steam boats fostered connections via wa- ter, while in 1849, the railway shortened the distance between Como and Milan. The subsequent opening of the Gotthard tunnel gave the town a direct link to Europe. Toward the end of the nineteenth century, the travel guides and manuals multiplied, and tourism, initially for restricted elites, trans- formed into a flourishing industry capable of dealing with an ever greater and more varied number of travelers, for whom it was necessary to create suitable accommodation. Despite the intensification of tourism, the villas and their gardens are still the main protagonists on the lake: silent witnesses of centu- ries of erudite discussions, unexpected love affairs, glamorous parties, and secret revolts against the order of things which took place in sparkling ballrooms and in the shade of centen- nial trees. And so with all their history, splendor, and beauty, their charm persists into the present day. Excerpt © Italian Gardens of Lake Como by Lucia Impelluso, Mondadori Electa, 2019. Images © Dario Fusaro. Continued on next page For more information, see Sources, page 84 J A N U A R Y/ F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 9 | 43

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