Villa Greppi: on the path to the Brianza Villas
From commercial farm to Villa di Delizia
Situated on a hill in the town of Casatevecchio, at Monticello di Brianza, Villa Greppi is a neoclassical building that incorporates a sixteenth-century residence purchased by Count Giacomo Greppi in 1811.
Originally designed by the Count as a commercial farm, the residence became, with his grandchild Antonio, a leisure and holiday location, falling within the eighteenth-century tradition of the “Ville di Delizia“. The villa was renovated in the style prevalent among local residences, the style disseminated by Piermarini, the architect of the Royal Villa of Monza, and his followers.
Today, the villa is managed by the homonymous consortium which, in collaboration public and private institutions, manages and promotes cultural activities that link the history of the Greppi family with the different entities of the Brianza territory.
Ville di Delizia
The tradition of Ville di Delizia came about in the sixteenth-century. In the seventeenth-century, those residences sprung up in a territory mainly for agricultural production and responded to needs linked to rural activities, managed by the owner families, and holidays and relaxation.
In the eighteenth-century, the beauty of the flat landscape and the salubrious climate inspired the nobility and Milanese upper class to erect new residences and to renovate the ancient rustic houses, using them as summer houses.
Hunting lodges, castles and country houses were gradually transformed into true villas and Brianza became the chosen place for leisure and family times by the most important Milanese families.
The Greppi family and the tradition of holidaying in Brianza
Villa Arrigoni, at the time of its transfer to the ownership of the Greppi family, consisted of a dwelling with gardens, a farmer’s house, other rustic houses, agricultural land, grazing areas, meadows and chestnut trees.
The renovation started by Giacomo Greppi incorporated the ancient sixteenth-century residence into the west wing of the new u-shaped manor house. The main floor of this area became, with Antonio II and Alessandro Greppi, the meeting place for the villa’s guests.
The holiday tradition for the Greppi family took place every year between the summer period and the start of November; the villa and the country park were transformed during these months into a privileged space, ready to welcome the elite, but also the culture, nobility and Milanese upper class.
Villa Greppi, at the centre of one of Brianza’s biggest parks
The large hall of the west wing, with painted coffered ceiling and monochrome frieze, still opens onto the hornbeam grove, the preferred and most frequented area of the Greppi family, a sort of private garden, separate from the other areas of the immense park surrounding the villa.
On the south side, the Italian-style garden dominates the village of Casatenovo, while the remaining part of the park, which boasts seven trees classified as monumental, embodies the British aesthetic of the romantic sublime in the apparent randomness of its vegetative development.
The park and Villa Greppi are completed with the rustic buildings used for administrative and agricultural activities: the granary, the stables and the farmer’s house, all recently renovated.