In 1690, marquis Giorgio Clerici built an imposing but sombre residence with an Italian garden in a hollow between the lake and mountains. Its subsequent owner, Gian Battista Sommariva, adorned it with works of art and transformed part of the garden into a romantic park.
In the mid-19th century the villa was given by Princess Marianne of Orange-Nassau to her daughter Charlotte on the occasion of her wedding to George II, Duke of Saxe-Meiningen. The latter was a botany enthusiast and he was the one who created the landscape garden that has made the villa famous. It covers 70,000 m² and boasts exquisite huge trees, 150 varieties of rhododendrons and azaleas, ancient camellias and exotic plants. Its wealth of treasures continues inside the villa with precious works of art on the ground floor, in particular sculptures by Canova and his school, paintings by Hayez and Wicar, a frieze by Thorwaldsen, and meticulously preserved original furnishings on the main floor. Outside the villa, the Sommariva family sepulchral chapel is open to the public.
The backdrop of Lake and surrounding vegetation make the villa a dream location for weddings