Known chiefly as the home of Luchino Visconti, Villa Erba was designed at the end of the nineteenth century, with a Mannerist inspiration, which gives a dramatic impression of opulence. Each room of the two-storey building is luxuriously decorated with the works of Angelo Lorenzoli. Of great artistic value are the paintings incorporated into the decorations of the walls and ceilings, including the famous Strappos (stripped off) frescoes in the banqueting hall, attributed to Johann Christoph Storer who worked in Lombardy in the 1600s, and the decorations by Angiolo D'Andrea, a well-known painter of the Milanese Belle Époque. To be mentioned the two portraits of the first owners of the villa, Luigi Erba and Anna Brivio, both by Cesare Tallone. The historic park offers a charming walk among tall trees, collections of flowering shrubs and colourful beds.
The path winds along the shores of Lake Como, providing a splendid panorama. The fin-de-siècle ambience of the villa, a favourite retreat of Luchino Visconti, the elegant décor and enormous garden are now open to all lovers of beauty. The visitor can admire the exotic plants, the style of the flower borders, the elegance of the architecture, the historic villa and the glass-house, an architectural masterpiece by Mario Bellini, which serves as a venue for special events and international conferences. The Villa Erba's lakeside park forms an integral part of the conference centre environment. Inside the park of Villa Erba, you can admire the small Zen garden, the work of the Japanese master Yasuo Kitayama. This little gem, was revisited by Luigi Crespi, the first Japanese garden designer in Italy, through a project completed in September 2014. In order to give more perspective to the garden and a greater sobriety, typical of a Zen garden, Luigi Crespi has moved some stones, has pruned some essences with a specific form and has removed a yew.
From 2013 Villa Erba is the official headquarter of Grandi Giardini Italiani.