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Castagnola

Parco di Villa Heleneum

  1. Contact

    Parco di Villa Heleneum
    Via Cortivo 26-28
    6976 Castagnola

  2. Notes

    Suggested period: All the year
    Duration: 1 h
    Dogs: On the lead
    Accessibility to bikes: No
    Playground: No
    Pic-nic area: No
    Restaurant/Bar: Yes, close to the park
    It's not allowed to pick up flowers and fruits

  3. Altitude

    273 m

  4. Opening

    Open all year
    Open all days
    April - September: 06:00 - 23:00
    October - March: 06:00 - 21:00
    Open times of the library: Monday - Friday 10:00 - 12:00 / 14:00 - 17:00

  5. Prices

    Free entry
    Entry to park: Free
    Guided visit: No

  6. How to arrive

    Bus: No.2, Stop San Domenico.
    Boat: Imbarcadero centrale Lugano - imbarcadero villa Heleneum o Gandria.

  7. Access to the disabled
    • Difficult access

This small floral jewel, situated in Castagnola on the shores of Lake Lugano, reserves many surprises with its rich Mediterranean vegetation.

This delightful park was designed in ‘Liberty’ style in 1931 and built at the same time as the villa, in neoclassical style, is a faithful copy of Petit Trianon at Versailles. The generous garden surrounding the building is covered with an amazing variety of tropical and subtropical plants and flowers which survive the winter thanks to the favourable microclimate, unique to the area. There are lemon trees, orange trees, kumquats and grapefruit trees, date palms, Chile palm trees, “cycas revoluta” from central America and Japanese palm trees, to mention just a few. The original garden fittings from the ‘30s - steps, columns, the grotto in tufa-stone, the railings together with the combination of unusual plants and trees make it unique among Lugano’s parks.

The history of the Villa and its garden is closely connected with the figure of Hélène Biber, a modern ballet dancer from Paris who started a society ‘salon’ in her home in Lugano. She died in 1967 having lived her life to the fullest. The property was transferred to the City hall of Lugano who used it for various purposes during the following 20 years. In 1989 the Villa was designated as the location of the Museo delle Culture Extraeuropee (museum of Extraeuropean culture) and from 2007 to 2015 it became the seat of the Museum of Cultures, which houses the collection of Serge and Graziella Brignoni. Now, the villa includes a library and a documentation center. 

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