Famiglia Crespi

How a timeless dream was born

In 1879 Cristoforo Benigno Crespi, a wealthy businessman in the cotton industry bought a piece of land in the peninsula of Orta San Giulio.

The plot of ground consisted of a farmhouse with direct access to the lake and it involved part of the ancient fishermen village called Ortello, that was completely destroyed to build the new property.

The Villa was born as the holiday resort of the Crespi’s.

The house was dedicated to Mr Crespi’s wife, Pia Travelli and its former name was “Villa Pia”, as we can still read on a side gate.

The architect charged with the construction of Villa Crespi was Angelo Colla (1827-1892), one of the most famous architects in Milan at that time.

Thanks to his illustrious friendship with the senator Tullo Massarani, Colla got important assignments in Milan and in 1877 they became members of the Commission for the Cultural Heritage and the fine arts.

During this period, when he was at the height of success, he was charged with the construction of Villa Crespi, a three-floored moorish palace influenced by Mr Crespi’s passion for the Middle East, usual destination of his business trips. An outstanding minareth stands out from the palace, overlooking the park and the horizon.

Angelo Colla didn’t receive any particular request for the realization of the Villa. He was simply asked to create a masterpiece without precedent, a unique example of moorish arquitecture, extremely new in the place where it would have been built.

Later, a fountain, a dependance and a stable near the shore of the lake were erected on the same property. Despite the superb result of his work, Angelo Colla was widely criticized at the end of his work.


The Crespi’s

In 1877 Mr Crespi founded a factory village in Capriate (Lombardia), called in his honour “Crespi-D’Adda”, nowadays Unesco heritage site. The Crespi’s got very rich thanks to the cotton trade and the innovative manifacturing system adopted in their plants.

Cristoforo Benigno Crespi had five sons: Silvio Benigno, Bice, Maria, Daniele (the one who squandered part of the family patrimony in ruinous investments) and Guido (dead young)

In 1886 the family left Busto Arsizio and moved to Milan. Cristoforo Benigno was 51.

In 1906 he was struck down by an ictus.

His eldest son Silvio Benigno, a man full of talent and culture, took over the reins of the father’s business in 1889, when Villa Crespi was finished after 18 years of works.

He became as well a member of the Italian Parliament (1899-1919). He died in 1944.

His uncle, Benigno Crespi (brother of Cristoforo Benigno) bought “Il Corriere della sera” and soon it became one of the most important Italian newspapers.

The palace was owned by the Crespi’s untill 1929. After a hard crisis of the factory the family was obliged to sell the property

From 1929 to 1945 the property was bought by the noble family Fracassi Ratti Mentone di Torre Rossano and in this period the Villa was often visited by King Umberto di Savoia

From 1945 to 1949 the villa became property of the family Cardano

After being for some years a spiritual centre the villa became an hotel in the 1990s.

Inside the Villa

Villa Crespi originally was the holiday house of the family. The decorations on the walls are made of stucco of the highest quality according to the Spanish and Middle Eastern architectural tradition. The same tradition that we find inside, thanks to the arches of the rooms.

From the top of the minareth the view over the lake and the surrounding mountains is breathtaking.

One of the most impressive features of the Villa is the floor of the former lobby (today the reception area of the hotel). It is a mosaic work, according to a style used in Venice during the former centuries. On the ground floor there are 5 rooms, everyone differently decorated according to the architectural stile of the time.

The finest marbles were widly used for the construction of the columns inside and outside the building.

The huge park was designed by a famous gardens architect, Enrico Combi but during the years it has been changing and today it is much smaller than the original project.

Giardini di Villa Taranto

Botanical gardens and Borromeo Islands: an eight-month long experience between flowers and art

From the end of March gardens and villas will welcome Italian and foreign tourists, who reach the Lakes District to spend their first spring weekend. After the violent cloudburst in last August Villa Taranto in Verbania Pallanza will open from March 16 till November 3, everyday from 8.30 to 18.30. The 16 hectare wide gardens exhibit 20.000 botanical plants, 80.000 bulbous plants and 15.000 different flowers. Camellias, rhododendrons, tulips, azaleas, water lilies and victoriae amazonicae will make each visit a unique experience.

This year the FAI Italian Environmental Association includes Villa Taranto in the open sites during the so called “Spring Days” in March 23 and 24. From April 13 to 28 during the famous “Tulip Week” you will become eyewitness of a real spectacular and sparkling firework of colours with over 80.000 buds. In the Tulip’s Maze you can marvel at over 65 varieties; relating to colours and forms among these stands out the coveted black tulip “Queen of night” and the imposing “Big chief”, the corolla of which reaches an almost 10 centimetre large diameter. The huge Dahlias Labyrinth (500 Sm) of Villa Taranto will host, from July to October, a special exhibition dedicated to the dahlia: there fans will find more than 350 different flower species. Info: www.villataranto.it

On March 16 the gardens in Borromeo’s dominions on Lake Maggiore, Isola Madre and Isola Bella, will reopen after having been closed since last October, a time during which plants were guaranteed their necessary rest and maintenance work was carried out. The gardens will explode with the colours of thousands of tulip bulbs the Borromeo’s gardeners planted last autumn to bring the Renaissance park of Isola Bella and the romantic one of Isola Madre to life in an endless array of different shades. Along with tulips and ancient flower varieties, other key features will be azaleas and rhododendron bushes, which are ubiquitous on Isola Madre in numerous different varieties. Indeed, having found their ideal habitat here, they cover every space as far as the eye can see. Meanwhile, big lilac bushes and first fragrant wisteria blossoms will fill the air with wonderful scents.

As well as  amellias there are numerous different rose varieties that, despite being present in all three gardens belonging to the Borromeo Family, reign supreme on Isola Bella. With more than 2.000 paintings art on both islands waits for you! The famous “Quadreria Borromeo” or General Berthier’s art gallery, housed in the Princes’ Villa on Isola Bella, presents 130 Lombard Baroque styled paintings, excellent copies of Raffaello, Correggio, Tiziano, Guido Reni’s works of art, a special exhibition of Bergognone, Boltraffio and Giampietrino’s, many of which are authentic masterpieces, and others based on floral theme; baroque decorations in the Throne Room and the Queens’ Room.

The Palace o f Isola Bella wil l be open to the public everyday un ti l October 20 (9-17.30) and exceptionally from October 21 to November 3 (reduced opening time) . Info: www.borromeoturismo.it In Stresa, the pearl of Lake Maggiore, you can visit from the half of March till October 31 (9-18) the park of Villa Pallavicino, created English style in the 19th century and bought in 1862 by the Marquis Pallavicino. It extends over a 20 hectare area with tree-lined paths (7 km total length), wonderful flower-beds and a botanical garden. Animals are the principal attraction there: you will see more than 40 species of mammalians and exotic birds (lamas, kangaroos, zebras, flamingos, etc.) which live wild in a totally natural environment. Info: www.parcozoopallavicino.it

The Alpinia Botanical Garden, 300 meter nearby the first station of the cable car Stresa-Alpino-Mottarone, will reopen everyday from the beginning of April to October (9.30-18). This 40.000 Sm large, huge garden holds an important rule, that is preserving the mountain flora. Moreover, the view from its natural terrace (760- 810 M a.s.l.) is really enchanting and gives visitors the possibility to admire Lake Maggiore with the Borromeo Gulf and the high mountain chain, going over the skyline.Info: www.giardinoalpinia.it

Villa Crespi

Love’s Charm

Gabriel García Márquez, Colombian writer and Nobel Prize winner, said that “Life is not what you’ve experienced. It’s about what you’ve remembered and the way you can remember it so you can share it”.

But how do you live and build memories that last forever? Special, luxurious, enchanted memories. How are we supposed to live these so-called “moments to share”?

Responding to these questions is risky business. But we believe that the only limit to fully living these moments is to relish the journey.

This is the reason for our “Incanto d’Amore” package, 2 nights in one of our splendid Moorish suites or rooms, created for this ambitious and noble intention. Designed with the “crazy idea” of bestowing on our guests an enchanting present and unforgettable moments to remember and relive, again and again.

… sunset on a private boat, do you remember?

A warm welcome awaits you at Villa Crespi. Let us take you to your room or suite. Take a look at the mirror of water lying in front of you. Once you’ve taken it all in, you can decide when you’d like to get to know it better. Today? Tomorrow? It’s your choice. But you’ve got to set your watch. You just can’t miss the sun as it goes down. This magical moment, the perfect moment for your holiday.

On board a private boat, surrounded by the wonder of Lake Orta, enjoy a wonderful bottle of fine Italian sparkling wine and the spectacular sunset. An hour all for you, in complete privacy. As the sun plunges into the dark waters of the lake and nature settles all around you, the evening atmosphere is quietly ushered in.

A dinner … see the stars again

Villa Crespi in the evening is even more stunning. There’s no other way to celebrate a place like this than by having dinner. So, we’d like you to try something more than a simple dinner … something like a sensorial experience with a tasting menu at the Michelin 2-star restaurant run by chef Antonino Cannavacciuolo, inside Villa Crespi.

The romantic menu, called “Itinerario dal Sud al Nord Italia”, is a journey of colors, moments and scents coming from Chef Cannavacciuolo’s childhood up to present day, in a food and wine event crowning a day of love, flavors and magic.

Breakfast in your room + Exclusive treatment

Your morning awakening, if possible, will be even sweeter. The à la carte breakfast is served in your room; the perfect dose of indulgence for a day of pure relaxation and well-being for your mind and body.

But your special weekend isn’t over yet. 75 minutes have been put aside for each of you. Choose from one of our exclusive treatments designed specifically for you: the Sound of Silence treatment, the Full Hand Lightness manicure or the Walking on Clouds pedicure.

What have you chosen? Take all the time you need. There’s no rush. We’ll be waiting for you in our Wellness Suite.

Understanding your expectations

Your weekend, meant to be lived and the most beautiful and romantic moments of your love kept forever, can also include a few extras on request.

  • Sommelier-led wine tasting to accompany your menu.
  • Rosé Champagne afternoon tea with fresh pastries and savory delicacies.
  • Private limousine to/from the airports of Turin, Milan Malpensa or Linate upon request.

Villa Crespi, the natural choice for your future memories.

Villa Crespi