Villa Simonetta

Via Stilicone, 36. (Open Map)


A unique example of an aristocratic Renaissance building on the Milanese territory, the villa takes its name from the noble Simonetta family who became owners of the property after the sixteenth century Gonzagas. From the range of entertainment and festivities that the sophisticated lady Clelia Simonetta advocated in the sixteenth century, the building now hosts a summer music programme and some interior spaces are used for concerts and recordings curated by the Foundation of Civic Schools in Milan. The beauty of the residence, lavishly decorated and embellished with an Italian-style garden and a, now extinct, fish farm was largely obscured by various circumstances which, since 1836, had led it to become a hospital for cholera patients, a stearic candle factory and an inn. Successive to destruction by the bombings in 1943 a restoration began in 1962 which restored some of the frescoes and arches to their former glory.
Legend has it that the sixteenth century noblewoman, Clelia Simonetta, killed her lovers and that her ghost now inhabits the halls of the palazzo. The attractive rear back porch of the villa, facing the countryside, is remembered both by Stendhal and by a lapidary inscription, for its ability to repeatedly reverberate sounds off its walls.