Boasting handsome interiors as well as magnificent grounds, Villa Fornace is a perfectly preserved stately home, and as such unique in the area surrounded by it’s magnificent “english garden”. Built in the eighteenth century on the site of an old brick kiln (fornace in Italian; hence the name), the original U-shaped main building was enhanced by the addition of the north-facing symmetrical wings in the nineteenth century.
Stone pillars decorate the facade that overlooks the gardens. These were designed by Achille Majnoni (1855-1935), the personal architect of Italy’s king Umberto I, and best-known for his work on Villa Reale in Monza, as well as Villa Monastero at Varenna on Lake Como. The interiors boast many of the original floors and furnishings, while the vaulted ceilings feature elaborate stucco work. A stone balustrade overlooks the double-height main hall (salone d’onore), while a splendid frescoed ceiling crowns the experience. Conserving intriguing greillage work depicting architectural morifs and trompe l’oeil perspectives, the jardin d’hiver is now the setting for wine-tastings, having also served as a theatre during the last war and, more recently, as a games room and now as wine tasting room.
A short distance from the house are the greenhouses, as well as the orangery. These were built by the contessa Anna Vimercati Giorgi di Vistarino at the beginning of last century.
Strikingly different from many homes in the area, Villa Fornace also stands out from its neighbours for the fact that it has welcomed many distinguished visitors over the centuries. These have included members of Savoy dynasty – the Italian Royal family – as well as the British Royal family.