The History

A fairy-tale palace surrounded by .... reality                                                                   

The origins of Villa Crespi go back to 1879 and it was the dream come true of a wealthy cotton merchant, Cristoforo Benigno Crespi, who wanted to bring the charm of Baghdad back to his beloved Lake Orta.
It was originally named after Pia Travelli Crespi, like her husband a native of Busto Arsizio (Varese) and was gifted to her as an act of love, this being the reason it was called Villa Pia as we can still read on one of the gateways to the property.


Angelo Colla (1827-1892) was the architect Crespi charged with completing the project. He was one of the most sought after and fashionable architects of  the times.


Cristoforo Benigno Cresi wanted the architect's whimsical talents and indeedhe  perfectly interpreted his client's wishes, giving the villa a Middle Eastern setting that was quite unique, with superb stuccoes and arabesque carvings. The result is a masterpiece in the Moorish- Eclectic style which today is as breathtaking to the beholder  as it was then. 


This surprising villa has an elegant tower in the style of a minaret and its reputation as a place of charm and magic ensured  poets, captains of industry, princesses and King Umberto of Savoia were welcomed there.
In 1999, after careful restoration , Cinzia and Antonino Cannavacciuolo returned it to its former Midde Eastern character, making it into a point of reference for Italian hospitality and a temple to cuisine and fine taste.

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