Varenna, Lake Como

Villa Monastero rests in Varenna, on the eastern shore of Lake Como. It is one of the most interesting examples of Eclecticism around Lake Como.

Founded on the site of a former women’s monastery, the villa underwent numerous renovations in the 19th and 20th centuries that added decorative and functional elements which, however, did not change the building’s previous appearance and gave it an imposing appearance.

The villa’s vast botanical garden and its museum, which collects centuries of history, are something not to be missed during your trip to Varenna or Lake Como.

Discover Villa Monastero in Varenna!

Villa Monastero, Varenna, Lake Como
Villa Monastero

Discover Villa Monastero

In a nutshell

KEY FEATURES of Villa Monastero

Gardens of Villa Monastero, Varenna
Spring in the gardens of Villa Monastero

Villa Monastero is an amazing complex that includes a wide botanical garden, which is arranged in terraces and collects many rare plant species. The mild climate, favored by the lake, allows numerous botanical species from all over the world to grow.

This is the reason why, in almost every season of the year, the Villa Monastero gardens give you the chance to enjoy a variety of colors and scents

In addition to this, Villa Monastero is currently highly regarded as an international conference center.

Famous institutions, universities and companies frequently hold conventions, training courses and workshops in the wonderful settings of the villa.

The building features several rooms, the most outstanding of which is the Fermi Hall, where, in 1954, Nobel Prize winner Enrico Fermi held many physics classes.

Visitors will have the chance to see Casa Museo, a museum that collects four centuries of history within the elegant setting of the villa.

The 14 rooms of Casa Museo are completely furnished, and will give you the opportunity to go back to the past through various styles, precious materials and luxurious decorations.


The botanical gardens are open from the beginning of April to the end of October and the museum is open from the end of May to the end of October (please check on the official website). Special openings even in early November and early January.

Opening times: 9:30am - 8pm in high season, 10am - 5 pm in low season (last admission to visit the Villa is 45 minutes before the closing time).

The museum is closed on Mondays except during June, July and August.

  • Garden only: €10 (15-25 years old visitors: €5)
  • Whole property (garden + museum): €13 (15-25 years old visitors: €7)
    Free entrance for kids under 15

See the full list on the official website.

Address: Viale Giovanni Polvani 4, Varenna
Phone: +39 0341 295 450

Start planning your holidays!

A few tips for your stay in Varenna

HOW TO GET to Villa Monastero

Thanks to Navigazione Laghi you can get to Varenna by ferry (the town is perfectly connected to the other towns of the lake). The villa is a 10-minute walk from the pier.

Varenna also has a railway station, Varenna-Esino, which makes it easy to connect the city with Milan and other Lombard cities. The Varenna-Esino railway station offers both Trenitalia and Trenord services. You can check the timetables here. The villa is a 13-minute walk from the train station.

Villa Monastero, Varenna, Lake Como (Italy)
A view of the lake from the Villa
Stays & experiences

Experiences & tours

Make your trip a unique experience!​

Villa Monastero, Varenna
5 hour boat tour with visit to three villas
Passeggiata degli Innamorati, Varenna, Italy
Bellagio, Varenna and Vezio Castle + boat tour
Self-guided tour of three villas on Lake Como
4h tour on a Vaporina with visit to Villa Balbianello
4h tour on a Vaporina with visit to Villa Balbianello
Lake Como, Bellagio and Varenna: full-day tour from Milan
Como, Bellagio & Varenna: day tour from Milan

HISTORY of Villa Monastero

Interiors of Villa Monastero, Varenna, Italy
Interiors of Villa Monastero

Villa Monastero was initially a Cistercian nunnery dedicated to the Holy Virgin, and was built at the end of the 12th century in connection with the nunnery of Lenno, on the opposite side of Lake Como. 

In the mid 16th century, the Mornico family bought the property and made some renovations to the building, that remained in their ownership for over three centuries and was known as “Villa Leliana”.

In 1862, the villa was acquired by Pietro Genazzini from Bellagio, an engineer who carried out some further renovations. In 1869, Villa Monastero became property of Carolina Maumari, a famous noblewoman from Milan. During those years, many prominent personalities from the cultural world used to hang out at the villa. 

Later, the complex passed through several foreign owners, who embellished it with some elements of Nordic taste. In 1918, the villa was acquired by the Italian government as a war debt, until, in 1939, it became a public property and also a museum. Since then, the villa is a reference point for conferences and events on Lake Como.

Related posts

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Susan

    How do I purchase tickets to walk around the gardens of Villa Monastero?

    1. Alessandro – Lake Como Travel

      Hello Susan, you can buy tickets directly on-site.

  2. Marleen Schlangen

    Do have to buy tickets in advance or can we buy tickets at the villa on the dat we want tot visit the villa and the garden?

    1. Alessandro - Lake Como Travel

      Hi, you can buy the ticket on-site.

Leave a Reply

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.