Often times it’s the unexpected things which turn out to be the hidden gems. On a recent trip to Milan with a dear friend, we happened upon the Villa Necchi Campilio, a lovely surprise. Our feet were weary and we were looking forward to sitting in a quiet garden for a while when we found out the garden we had planned on visiting wasn’t open to the public. Spying a group of tourists heading down the street, I checked my map to try any figure out where they were going and saw that there was a green area with a villa. We followed them and I recognized the pictures as a place I had read about in a guide book. The gardens and villa can only be visited on a tour. Once we were told we could sit in the garden and order a drink from the café, we quickly made the decision to go.
We sat by the pool sipping our tonic waters and resting our feet as we waited for our tour to begin. The gardens are a tranquil spot in the middle of busy Milan. We also found out that this is a popular place for events in the evenings.
The house was built from 1932-1935 by Piero Portoluppi and had all the modern conveniences of the time: the first heated pool in the city, intercoms, a tennis court and an elevator. In the 1950’s Tomaso Buzzi was commissioned to make interior changes to accommodate the family’s change of taste, which at times makes for an interesting combination.
One of my favorite rooms was the veranda. The glass panes are double with enough room for plants in between them and so connects the outdoor green with the indoor green. In this room, the geometric designs the architect favored can be seen on the floor and in the door to the library.
The change of style is best seen in the salon and smokers’ lounge.
Upstairs in the area where the married couple Necchi Campiglio and the wife’s unmarried sister lived, the hallway has a series of doors which all look the same. Some lead to the bed and bathrooms and some are closets. The entire area is symmetrical and each side is a mirror images of the other.