The Villa Necchi Campiglio is one of the most charming places in Milan, the house everyone would like to own (or rent). Designed by architect Piero Portaluppi between 1932 and 1935, the Villa Necchi Campiglio is surrounded by beautiful gardens where you can spend the afternoon, wondering what it would be like to live here. The house represented a new idea of luxury, one that was based on technological innovation and fine materials rather than classicism. It’s located in via Mozart, in a central yet quiet area of Milan, among elegant buildings that date back to the Liberty and Art Nouveau period. And its owners were interesting people, too.
The Villa Necchi Campiglio and its owners
The Milanese architect Piero Portaluppi designed the house for Angelo Campiglio, his wife Gigina Necchi and his sister-in-law Nedda, who lived with them. The Necchi Campiglio family belonged to the industrial Lombard bourgeoisie and loved beautiful things. Nedda, who never got married, had her private rooms, where she kept elegant clothes and fashionable accessories. She had a writing desk under the window overlooking the garden. The family liked going to the theatre and eating out, but they also organized parties and dinners. As you walk through the garden, it’s easy to start daydreaming about warm summer nights, soft music, lit candles and elegantly dressed people holding a glass of wine.
In the main bedroom, my attention is caught by the several cat-shaped objects scattered on the shelves. Mrs Necchi Campiglio loved cats, who were treated as family members. The classical furniture replaced the original modern ones, but Portaluppi’s signature remains in the pattern designs and marble floor of the huge bathroom. On the other hand, Nedda’s room is definitely romantic. The canopy bed, plenty of laces, and the English and Tuscan furniture create a Jane Austen atmosphere and give the room an almost melancholic touch.
The library is also stunning, with the granite fireplace and the wooden shelves. I close my eyes and suddenly it’s winter, the snow is softly falling outside and I’m having my 5 o’clock cup of tea in one of the comfortable armchairs by the fire.
A cup of coffee by the swimming pool
The villa is surrounded by wonderful gardens, and in the back there’s an elegant café which is open to all guests, even those who just want to have a look at the garden and the swimming pool. Next to the tennis court there’s a curious sundial, and rose bushes grow in every corner.
Before leaving, take a look at the small vegetable garden. Eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini, basil and rosemary are ready to be picked and cooked, for a healthy, delicious Mediterranean dinner. Served in the gardens of the Villa Necchi Campiglio, of course.
The Villa Necchi Campiglio is located in 14, via Mozart.
Underground stop: Palestro (MM1)
Opening hours: Wed-Sun 10-18
Tickets: 10 euros (adults); 4 euros (children). The entrance to the gardens is free. To visit the interiors of the villa, you need to book a guided tour. You can try going there and waiting for the next available tour, or you can book one in advance. I suggest contacting Neiade Immaginare Arte, a Milan-based company specialized in the promotion of Art and Culture. They offer guided tours and visits in English.