At Villa Panza, the power of the genius loci is expressed through a kaleidoscope of creativity. Here, the tradition of the Italian garden and English parkland goes hand in hand with James Turrell’s dreamlike creations, framed by spaces ingeniously reworked by architects Piero Portaluppi and Gae Aulenti.

Initially built in the 18th century for Marquis Paolo Antonio Menafoglio, in the 1930s the villa was acquired by the Panza family. It has been under FAI ownership since 1996. The U-shaped villa and its elegant ground-floor portico provides the axis of symmetry for the park’s formal 18th-century portion. Enlarged by architect Luigi Canonica in the neoclassical period, the complex underwent further transformation in 1935, when Giuseppe Panza commissioned Piero Portaluppi to work on the 33,000 square metre park that looks out over the Prealps. The early 19th-century landscape, full of tall trees, including exotic and rare species, incorporates the ancient symmetries and romantic atmospheres of Italian gardens, featuring a small lake, a grotto and a hill dominated by a small temple. The gravel driveway leading up to the villa’s courtyard features eight grassy parterres and a fountain embellished with a pebble mosaic. A green hornbeam gallery welcomes visitors with evocative light effects, hosting one of the most significant Land Art pieces on the estate: A Tribute to the Carpinata Gallery, by British artist Stuart Ian Frost. A little further off is Fagus, an installation in which nature, geometry and human creativity intertwine in an interplay of mirrors made out of more than 30,000 beech blocks that takes in the whole park.