The appearance of Lago di Como at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the 20the century, with its banks shaped by landscaped gardens, landing stages and jetties, drew on the ideal of progress inspired by nascent industrialisation, while maintaining a romantic desire to preserve Nature and the landscape.

At around this time holiday residences and hotels began to be built around the lake, encouraged by the natural beauty of the surroundings and the proximity to Milan. New industries were fuelling growth in the hinterland, and aristocratic visitors were now joined by industrialists and representatives of the middle class.

The lake and surrounding countryside was now sprinkled with residences large and small, and with the villas and houses came new links in the form of funicular railways. The architecture of hotels was mostly eclectic in style, so it was the villas, ranging from classically-inspired residences to mountain chalets, which gave character to the new building boom. The favourite site was directly on the shores of the lake, with a skilfully landscaped garden setting off the architecture of the house, or on a promontory with a belvedere providing panoramic views. By the beginning of the twentieth century some were making use of the new fashion, the refined “Liberty” style, where motifs borrowed from nature contributed to the overall aim of making the architecture blend in with the surrounding countryside.

An interesting example of this trend is the villa owned by the silk magnate Bernasconi at Cernobbio, where he also set up his modern factory, currently being restored by local initiative. In this villa, built in 1905, the architect, Campanini, makes use of a leit motiv inspired by the textile industry, the silkworm amongst mulberry leaves, for the bas-reliefs which adorn the facades, thus weaving into the decoration symbols from the world of work.

At Lanzo d’Intelvi, above Lago di Como, there are two villas, Poletti (1913) and Cirla (1915), designed by the architect Sommaruga, built very much in spirit of the “Liberty”movement, blurring volumes and structures with flowing decorative designs . And in Brunate we find Villa Maria (1904) and Villa Chiara (1906), still wavering between eclecticism and modernism, and finally the purest expressions of floral design: Villa Cantaluppi (1908), Villa Marinoni (1910), Villa Rebuschini (1910) and Villa Franceschini (1911-12).

Another excellent place to find architecture inspired the floral-romantic style is funeral monuments in churchyards. The tombs of the Biffi at Galliano, the Casnati at Casnate and the Salmoiraghi at Lanzo d’Intelvi are major examples of the intertwining of architecture and sculpture so characteristic of the style of Art Nouveau. 

Image artist function date
Giuseppe Sommaruga architect 1867-1917
Alfredo Campanini architect 1873-1926
Achille Manfredini engineer 1869-1920
Giulio Ulisse Arata architect 1881-1962
Giovanni Battista Bossi architect 1864-1925
Alfredo Menni architect 1870-1946
Gaetano Moretti architect 1860-1930
Ulisse Stacchini architect 1860-1938
Ernesto Bazzaro sculptor 1859-1937
Leonardo Bistolfi sculptor 1859-1933
Gaetano Previati painter 1852-1920
Giovanni Segantini painter 1858-1899
Adolfo Wildt scupltor 1862-1931
Officina Beltrami a Milano of Giovanni Beltrami production of stained glass windows 1860-1926
Carlo Bugatti furniture designer, cabinetmaker 1856-1940
Ditta Calderoni a Milano jewellery production
Società Ceramica di Laveno ceramics production
Alessandro Mazzucotelli wrought iron master and designer 1865-1938
Eugenio Quarti furniture designer, cabinetmaker 1867-1929
Fabbrica Italiana di Mobili di Carlo Zen furniture designer, furniture production 1851-1918
Cover Author Description date Link
Eleonora Bairati, Daniele Riva l liberty in Italia

LATERZA, Bari ISBN: 9788842025443
2001
Fabio Benzi (curator of the catalogue of the exhibition) Il liberty in Italia

FEDERICO MOTTA EDITORE, Milano ISBN: 88-7179-290-4
2002
Rossana Bossaglia (curator) Archivi del liberty italiano

FRANCO ANGELI EDITORE, Milano ISBN: 10: 88-204-2435-5, ISBN 13: 978-88-2042-435-0
1988
Rossana Bossaglia Il liberty in Italia

CHARTA, Milano ISBN: 88-8158-146-9
1998
Lara – Vinca Masini l liberty. Un’avventura artistica internazionale tra rivoluzione e reazione, tra cosmopolitismo e provincia, tra costante ed effimero, tra sublime e stravagante

GIUNTI, Firenze ISBN: 88-09-01711-0
2000
Giovanna Mori Era di Moda, Eleganza in Italia attraverso i Manifesti Storici della Raccolta Bertarelli

SILVANA EDITORIALE, Cinisello Balsamo, Milano ISBN: 88-8215-942-6
2005
Vittorio Sgarbi (curator of the catalogue of the exhibition) Sogni. Visioni tra Simbolismo e Liberty

SILVANA EDITORIALE, Cinisello Balsamo, Milano ISBN: 88-8215-971-X
2005
Stefano Baia Curioni, Marco Cattini (curators Il mondo nuovo. Milano 1890 – 1915

©Universitŕ Commerciale Luigi Bocconi by MONDADORI ELECTA, Milano ISBN: 88- 435-9864-3
2002
Rossana Bossaglia, Valerio Terraroli Il liberty a Milano

SKIRA, Milano ISBN: 888491681
2003
Cecilia de Carli Brunate tra eclettismo e Liberty. La villeggiatura progettata dal 1890 al 1940

Edition by Amministrazione Comunale, Brunate
1985
Stefano della Torre (curator) Cernobbio Villa Bernasconi. Storia e restauro

NODOLIBRI, Como ISBN: 978-88-7185-144-7
2008
Stefano della Torre (curator) Vita e arte di cantiere. Immagini, materiali, testimonianze per la storia dell’edilizia nel comasco e nel lecchese, 1850 – 1950

NODOLIBRI, Como ISBN: 88-7185-034-3
1994
Giovanna Ginex, Ornella Selvafolta Il cimitero monumentale di Milano. Guida storico-artistica

SILVANA EDITORIALE, Cinisello Balsamo ISBN: 88-366-0511-7
1996
Enrico Levrini Lago di Como. Fascino e nobiltŕ

MACCHIONE EDITORE, Varese ISBN: 88-8340-147-6
2002
Domenico Lini, Pietro Ridondi (curators) La scienza, la cittŕ, la vita. Milano 1906: l’esposizione internazionale del Sempione

SKIRA, Milano ISBN: 88-7624-817-X
2003
Guido Lopez, Elisabetta Susani n Liberty. Milano e Lombardia

CELIP, Milano ISBN: 88-87152-05-5
1999
Valerio Terraroli Le arti decorative in Lombardia nell'etŕ moderna 1780-1940 (vol. II)

SKIRA, Milano ISBN: 888118589X
2000
Various authors L’idea del lago. Un paesaggio ridefinito: 1861/1914

NUOVE EDIZIONI GABRIELE MAZZOTTA, Milano ISBN: 88-202-0568-8
1984
Daniele Astrologo Abadal, Ruggero Montrasio (curators) Anima mundi. I marmi di Adolfo Wildt

SILVANA EDITORIALE, Cinisello Balsamo, Milano ISBN: / EAN: 97888-3660928-4
2007
Eleonora Bairati, Daniele Riva Giuseppe Sommaruga, un protagonista del liberty italiano

NUOVE EDIZIONI GABRIELE MAZZOTTA, Milano ISBN: 88-202-0497-5
1982
Rossana Bossaglia Bistolfi

EDITALIA, Roma ISBN: EDITALIA, Roma
1981
Rossana Bossaglia, Maria Flora Giubilei I Bugatti

NUOVE EDIZIONI GABRIELE MAZZOTTA, Milano ISBN: 88-202-1234-X
1997
Rossana Bossaglia, Arno Hammacher Mazzucotelli: l'artista italiano del ferro battuto liberty,

IL POLIFILO EDITORE, Milano, (Multilingual edition in Italian, English and German) ISBN: 88-7050-472-7
1971
Luciano Caramel (curator) Medardo Rosso. Le origini della scultura moderna

SKIRA, Milano ISBN: 888491907X
2004
Caterina Corradini MARIUS" Mario Stroppa 1880/1964

CLAUDIO MADOGLIO EDITORE, Crema
2001
Maria Fratelli (curator) Il Quarto Stato. Pellizza da Volpedo

FEDERICO MOTTA EDITORE, Milano ISBN: 978-88-7179-554-6
2007
Fausto Gozzi, Paola Pallottino, Lucio Scardino, Vittorio Sgarbi Aroldo Bonzagni. Pittore e illustratore. Ironia, satira e dolore

CHARTA, Milano ISBN: CHARTA, Milano
1998
Fabio Mangone Giulio Ulisse Arata. Opera completa

ELECTA NAPOLI, Napoli ISBN: 88-435-4534-5
1993
Annie-Paule Quinsac Vittore Grubicy e l’Europa. Alle radici del Divisionismo

SKIRA, Milano ISBN: 8876244050
2005
Vittorio Sgarbi (curator) Aroldo Bonzagni

EDIZIONI GABRIELE MAZZOTA, Milano ISBN: 88-202-1766-X
2005
Various authors Marcello Dudovich. Oltre il manifesto

CHARTA, Milano ISBN: 978-88-8158-417-8
2002
Various authors Gaetano Previati, 1852-1920. Un protagonista del simbolismo europeo

ELECTA MONDADORI, Milano ISBN: 88-435-6853-1
1999
Arte italiana decorativa e industriale
Monthly illustrated periodical of decorative arts, directed by architect Camillo Boito.Published by Hoepli and Istituto Italiano d'Arti Grafiche, in Milan and Bergamo, from 1890 to 1912, under the patronage of the Minister of Agriculture, Industry and Commerce.

L’architettura italiana
Monthly illustrated periodical concerning building sciences and practical architecture. Published by Crudo of Turin, from 1905 to 1943.

L'arte decorativa moderna. Rivista di architettura e di decorazione della casa e della via
Monthly illustrated periodical of fine arts and indoor and outdoor decoration, founded by the sculptor Leonardo Bistolfi with Calandra, Ceraioli, Reycend and Thovez. Published by Bertolero of Turin since 1902.

L’artista moderno
Fortnightly illustrated periodical of Fine and Decorative Arts, published by Roux e Viarengo of Torino since 1904.

L'illustrazione italiana
Weekly magazine of current events and culture founded in 1873 by Antonio Treves, also chief executive and publisher in Milano till 1939.

Edilizia Moderna: periodico mensile di architettura pratica e costruzione
Periodical of practical architecture and building sciences, founded by Luca Beltrami and published by G. Modiano of Milano, from 1892 to 1917 and from 1929 to1968.

Emporium
Monthly illustrated periodical of fine arts, literature, siences and miscellaneous, published by Istituto Italiano d'Arti Grafiche of Bergamo since 1895.

Natura ed Arte
Fortnightly periodical of science, literature and arts, published in Milano since 1891 to 1911, by Francesco Vallardi.

Novissima
Illustrated periodical of fine arts and literature, first published by Novissima Editions of Milan in 1901 and since 1903 to 1913 in Rome.The periodical changed its name several times: from Novissima to Albo Annuale d'Arti E Lettere, then to Rivista d'Arti e Lettere, Albo d'Arti e Lettere, and finally to Rivista mensile d'Arti e Lettere.

Partner:
Regione Lombardia 
D.G. Autonomia e Cultura
Piazza Città di Lombardia,1
IT – 20124 Milano
Italia
E-mail: comunicazione_culture@regione.lombardia.it 

Links

L’epoca dell’Art Nouveau tra Como, Varese e Milano