Itinerary

The Path of Villas

A walk on Baveno lakefront or, even better, a boat tour along the shore allows you to admire, in all their beauty, the luxurious villas built in the nineteenth and twentieth century, with English parks and gardens filled in with exotic and selected plants.

 

Starting from north, across Selvaspessa river in Oltrefiume hamlet, surrounded by the rich vegetation of the public park, facing the lake you can find Villa Fedora built in the first half of the nineteenth century. The villa took its name from the Opera of the composer Umberto Giordano, who composed it during his stay here between 1904 and 1924. The large English style park enriched with a dock, a dependence, an icehouse and a greenhouse has always been admired for the beauty and the variety of its trees.

 

Villa Della Casa, now called Villa Bionda, can be approached only on foot, with an easy walk, because of its location along Corso Garibaldi. The villa built in 1875 in Swiss chalet style was designed by architect Augusto Guidini for Nicola Della Casa (the developer of the modern extraction and processing of Baveno pink granite). Take a few minutes to admire the architectural details with successful combination of wood and pink granite. On the main façade the carved motto of Della Casa Company “Labor prima virtus” and the interesting terracotta tondos which represents famous Italian people in culture and history.

 

In the very centre of Baveno the modern Grand Hotel Dino built on the former Grand Hotel Bellevue. Very well-known during the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century for its guests: Anastasia of Russia, princess Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg (granddaughter of Queen Victoria) and Prince Danilo of Montenegro with his sister Elena, the future queen of Italy, wife of Vittorio Emanuele the 3rd.

 

Few steps away, on the other side of the main road today there is a bank, but at the very beginning of the nineteenth century this building  was the “Albergo della Posta” the first inn on the lake providing not only food and lodging, but also stabling for horses of the stage coach crossing the Simplon Pass on the way from Paris to Rome and back. Several famous travelers on their “Grand Tour” like Goethe, Wagner, Dumas father and son spent some days here and wrote about the “Albergo della Posta” in Baveno.

 

 

 

A little further on the Beau Rivage is the only hotel from the nineteenth-century still open which maintain its ancient architecture.

 

Along the main road, you can find Villa Galtrucco a nineteenth-century structure, fully transformed in the years. In the last century, during some work in the park an old roman necropolis was found. In the second half of the nineteenth century the building was inhabited by celebrities and hosted several political meetings.  Giacinto Provana di Collegno, an Italian patriot of the Risorgimento period, a friend of Giuseppe Garibaldi and of the writer Alessandro Manzoni lived here with his wife Margherita Trotti Bentivoglio, writer of the political diary.

 

A little further on, near the ancient Thermal springs building, there is Villa Patrizia (Tommasina) from the early decades of the twentieth century. The Villa hidden by the trees has simple decorations and a curved balcony which runs along the entire first floor facing the lake.

 

Villa Beatrice, on the lake shore, after the playground and the little harbor, is characterized by engraved decorations on the second floor and was built in the early decades of the twentieth century as well.

 

Villa Henfrey-Branca, built between 1870 and 1872 by the English engineer Charles Henfrey is one of the most original building on Lake Maggiore, inspired by English castle architecture. The fairy tale architecture has a strong chromatic print due to the matching of red bricks with white stones.  In the English style garden there is a protestant church and a small castle built in 1882-1883 along the lines of the castle of Vogogna. Sir Chares Henfrey from Scotland made his fortune in Italy thanks to railway lines. In 1871 he choose Baveno as a place of his residence. He dedicated the villa to his wife Clara. Among the eminent personalities, who over the years were stayed here, the most important was Queen Victoria of Great Britain, who came with her daughter Beatrice in 1879. After the death of sir Charles Henfrey the villa was bought by the Branca family well known because of the production of the world wide famous liquor, Fernet-Branca, created by the founder Bernardino in 1845.

 

Villa Durazzo (now Lido Palace Hotel) is an imposing building of the second half of the nineteenth century, built by the Marquis Durazzo from Genova. The hotel is situated right opposite the Borromeo Gulf. In 1881 it was transformed into a luxury hotel and hosted very important people like Sir Winston Churchill during his honeymoon.