Built at the beginning of the 18th C by Carlo Morosini of Lugano (the villa was originally Villa Morosini), Villa Negroni has been through several important transformations.
It used to be the focus of Ticino Society; various 19th C politicians, intellectuals, musicians and artists were all at one time guests at the country seat of the Morosini family. As well as these elegant 19th C refugees Giuseppe Verdi, Boito, the poets Maffei, Carcano and Fogazzaro, the painter Hayez, and last but not least, Giuseppe Garibaldi hero of ‘two worlds’ all visited the villa at some time. In 1860 the villa was enlarged, and in 1910 sold to Conte C.A. Negroni from Milan whose architect son Giovanni Antonio, dedicated his life to rebuilding the entire villa, scrupulously respecting the original plans. Stables were built at the bottom of the garden, and statues set on the bridge connecting the north wing.
Near the villa a new garden was designed in formal Italian style, complete with ossuary and chapel. The garden is generously supplied with statuary and vases of artificial stone-flowers. These vases are displayed together in a corner of the garden around a hand made bouquet of wrought iron flowers. The flowers, together with the railings, the gates, and other iron decorations were all brought to Lugano from the family villa in Brianza, Italy.
Clipped box hedges (buxus sempervirens) palm trees, fountains, and sandstone baroque statues still create a pleasing contrast between man-made architecture and nature, an idea originally conceived by the Negroni family in the first decade of the 20th C.
The fact that Villa Negroni is a valued Ticinese historical building is clearly reflected in the importance given to the surrounding parkland. The main characteristic of the garden is its division into two completely different areas – the formal ‘Italian’ garden echoes humanistic Italian Renaissance values when beauty was defined as perfection born of symmetry and harmony. It is architect designed, with geometrical and symmetric patterns emphasised by the statuary and decorations throughout. The building blends with the garden so that each seems part of the other. The villa becomes a natural backdrop to the garden, which itself enhances the villa. The formal edges of the ‘Italian’ garden dissolve into the boundaries of the ‘English’ garden, situated on a lower, sloping part of the park which gradually gives way to the surrounding countryside; simplicity is the key note.
Both styles live happily side by side at Villa Negroni, as in many other parts of Europe.
The history of Villa Negroni is marked by various transformations, the most recent of which was carried out by the city of Lugano in 1976 when they bought the property for 4.8 million francs. Several institutions have had their offices here: first the American School, then the College of Music, and the Professional fashion school. Since 1990 the ‘Municipio’ has allowed the Associazione Bancaria Ticinese to use it for their new centre of banking studies (Centro di Studi Bancari). This was an opportunity for the city to completely renovate the building, especially the interior.
Even the garden had a facelift to restore it to its original glory, e.g. the little internal courtyard was remade to the original design by the architect Negroni.
The whole garden glows with colour as the seasons change and the flowers bloom in sequence according to the schemes set down in 1915/20.
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Parco di Villa Negroni
Lenght of visit: 1 h
Dogs: On the lead.
Accessibility to bikes: No
Pic-nic area: No
Restaurant/Bar: Yes, close to the park
It's not allowed to pick up flowers and fruits
Open season: All the year
Suggested period: Spring-Autumn
Entry to park: Free
Guided visit: No