The Villa of Cypresses is an impressive collection of ancient buildings and splendid gardens in Varenna, on the east coast of Lake Como. Its records begin with the aristocratic Serponti family in 1163, passing to Baron Isimbaldi at the close of the eighteenth century, the Andreossi family who embellished the park in the nineteenth century, then the Englishmen Sir Astley and Sir Salton at the beginning of the twentieth century followed by the publisher Accame. In 1980 Villa Cipressi was bought by the people of Varenna through a voluntary public subscription and now it is the property of public institutions with the Varenna Municipality, managed by the R Collection Hotels group who saw to its restoration, combining its historic essence with functionality in an elegant hotel.
The beauty of the buildings is enhanced by a magnificent botanical gar- den, with stairways and terraces leading down to the lake. The climate is amenable to planting species unusual for northern Italy, such as American agaves of which some specimens date back to mid-nineteenth century. The garden includes a remarkable collection of Agavaceae and Mediterranean species such as the strawberry tree, myrtle, pittosporum, tamarisk, various species of palm, standard oleanders and slender, elegant cypresses. There are also rare specimens of the Californian Cupressus macrocarpa (Monterey cypress).
A footpath guides visitors through mixed borders flowering through the seasons: after the camellias and azaleas in spring, gardenias, hydrangeas and roses bloom in summer and the beds are filled with annual flowers. Even winter offers its emotions with the scent of calycanthus, mahonia and sarcococca, and in spring wisteria, shading the pergola and filling it with perfume: a perfect spot for enjoying a view over the lake.