Among the most beautiful and majestic pleasure villas of Milan, Villa Arconati-FAR is an heritage site of great historical, cultural and architectural value. The Villa - which together with its Gardens is today the headquarters of the Augusto Rancilio Foundation - is situated in the Parco delle Groane, in the hamlet of Castellazzo di Bollate, which derives its toponym from its pre-existing medieval fortified farmhouse.
Designed as a place of Delights but also as an outpost to control the land, today as then it preserves its village, agricultural land and the forest in which the nobles once practiced hunting, and is flanked by the church of San Guglielmo.
Considered to be an Italian revisitation of Louis XIV’s Versailles, the structure of the Regia Villa is presented today as it was completed by the Arconati family in the late 18th century, expression of the attention to detail and elegance of the Lombard baroque on the layout of the previous sixteenth century house.
In fact, it is certain that the complex has undergone several reconstruction cycles since 1610 to meet the owners' renewed housing needs. The succession of works has not, however, altered the original intention by demonstrating how much the project of the Arconati was shared by the whole family.
Along the tree-lined Viale dei Leoni, Villa Arconati-FAR appears to the visitor with all its charm, which in recent years is returning to its splendor thanks to the important restoration project promoted by the Foundation. Even today entering here it is possible to understand the love for architecture, classical art, music and the science of the "knights" who has animated this noble residence since the past.
On the ground floor, there is the Salone del Museo, where the Roman statue of Tiberius, once known as Pompeo Magno, and the cabinet for the monument of Gaston de Foix, a work by Bambaja (now exhibited in the collection of the Civic Museums of the Castello Sforzesco of Milan); follows a splendid Library, already under restoration, where the sheets of the Atlantic Code of Leonardo da Vinci were probably preserved, donated in 1637 to the Biblioteca Ambrosiana, an archive and a museum once used for restoration and copying of the sculptures.
The Salone del Museo, together with other spaces of the Villa, is now home to institutional and private events - such as conferences, lectures and receptions - activities whose revenues contribute to the restoration project of the complex.
Going up the splendidly painted Staircase of honor, you reach the Noble floor: between the women's apartments and the Salone della Musica - also known as the "gallery of the stuchi" - until you meet the scenes painted by the Galliari brothers, known as the greatest scenographers of the Ducal Theater of Milan and other Lombardian villas, and called to Castellazzo in 1750 by Giuseppe Antonio Arconati.