Villa Gomes park in Maggianico is the largest public park in Lecco and was a meeting place of the Milanese Scapigliatura.
Villa Gomes Park is the largest and most beautiful public park in Lecco, which immediately fascinates the visitor at the entrance thanks to its wide lawns dotted with trees belonging to more than 40 different species.
The park’s name is stricltly linked to its first owner, the Brazilian composer Antônio Carlos Gomes, who wanted to built here a villa in the town of Maggianico, a meeting place for many writers and artists in the period of the Milanese Scapigliatura*.
A short drive away and accessible by bus 4 from Lecco downtown.
Currently it is called and known as Villa Gomes, but his owner called it “Villa Brasilia” to remind him his native country.
It was built in no time: just eight months between 1880 and 1881 upon the project of the architect Attilio Bolla.
The villa, in an eclectic historicist style, is almost located in the center of the park and its main facade with staircase is not immediately visible, in fact you have to walk to the south side to admire the villa in its entirety with the large overlooking fountain.
Nowadays yoy may access to Villa Gomes at its north side, at the end of the path. Here on the left you see the old greenhouse, now used as an auditorium, while behind the large glass entrance you see the two statues representing the Cacique and Pery, two characters of his famous work The Guarany, which made its debut at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan on March 19, 1870.
When the composer found himself in financial straits due to debts, he was forced in 1887 to sell the villa and the park to Alberto Moldenhauer, that then leaft it to his children. His daughter Marie married a Groppelli’s family man, who then acquire the property of the villa, before being purchased by the Municipality of Lecco in 1971.
Currently Villa Gomes is home to the Civic Institute of Music Giuseppe Zelioli, which organizes traditional and classical music courses ranging in the jazz and improvisation too.
The villa also houses the Library specialized in music, open to the public every Wednesday afternoon from 14 to 18 hours.
Villa Gomes Park
If we were existed at the time of Gomes and we had the luck to be his guests at Villa, surely we would live a unique experience: enjoy a park with a lot of exotic colors and sounds: in fact among the the trees many species of typical Brazilian animals were dwelling and fluttered, such as the Brazilians sparrows, parrots, macaws and saguis.
Like any self-respecting park, here we find so many and also rare tree species.
Antônio Carlos Gomes (1836-1896)
This name might not mean anything to those who haven’t studied and are not fond of music, but this Brazilian composer, who studied at the Conservatory of Rio de Janeiro with the Italian master Gioachino Giannini, later had success in Italy in the heyday of opera and was contemporary of Verdi and Puccini.
Gomes owes his success primarily to Brazilian Emperor Dom Pedro II of Bourbon and his wife Teresa Cristina, who gave him with a scholarship study at Milan Conservatory.
In this historical and artistic context, Gomes comes into contact with the Scapigliati and thanks to Antonio Ghislanzoni, librettist of Lecco, knows our territory and Maggianico, where Ghislanzoni lived in the village of Barco, known at the time as a very healthy area thanks to the discovery in 1850 of the so-called “health source”, a sulphurous water source, currently visible at the Convent of the Sisters of Maria Bambina in Maggianico.
And from his villa Carlos Gomes could also enjoy the beautiful views of Lake Como in the north and south the valley of the Adda River.
A few meters away from Villa Gomes stands Villa Ponchielli, built and designed by the same architect Attilio Bolla just a year before (1880), for the composer Amilcare Ponchielli’s wish, contemporary to Ghislanzoni and Gomes and also member of the movement of Scapigliatura.
Needless to say that Maggianico in mid-nineteenth century was a very vibrant center of culture and art, thanks to the charismatic figure of Antonio Ghislanzoni.
*Scapipgliatura – literary and artistic movement founded in Lombardy in the late nineteenth century.
Cover image: © eccoLecco
Video about the ouverture of The Guarany opera played by the National Symphonic Orchestra of Rio de Janeiro.