villas & liberty
duration 1,30/2 hours
11 November 1894: funicular opening.
Brunate lived a golden period and became a holiday resort with elegant villas in eclectic and Liberty style, which the rich bourgeoise of the industrial revolution looking for success built to dominate the breathtaking view on the town.
Nowadays the villas have changed landlords, but they keep their charm unchanged and witness the innovative ferment of that period which ended with the First World War. The funicular brings to Brunate, 750 metre high. Get off and go down the stairs, to reach the suggested panoramic viewpoint on Como. Admire the view of the town at the foot of the ex Grand Hotel Brunate (1893), now private flats. Go back to Via Roma, take it and watch the villas from above. Further on there is Villa Cantaluppi Giuliani (1910) with its rich and elegant Liberty decorations. Take Via Nidrino, Villa Valesi Viganoni (1903) is the first one on the left, then there is Villa Crespi Bianchi (1901), with its typical bow-windows, Chalet Sonzogno, prefab, third prize of a contest called in 1904 by the newspaper Il Secolo for its readers. Now go back to Via Roma, on the left Villa Spasciani Nascimbene Proserpio (1909), characterized by extreme solidity, Villa Duca Rosasco Veronelli (1906), with its octagonal tower and the graceful printed cement frames of the windows, Villa Rizzoli Orlandi Trenti, richly decorated, Villa Cantoni (1919), with concrete decorations in many shapes, Villa Manfredini Israel Pozzi-Della Porta (1914) designed by architect Achille Manfredini, in a mountain style, Villa Ghezzi Antonelli, in neoRenaissance style, with typical twin columns and wrought iron all around, Villa Rebuschini Ancona-Capé (1911), designed by architect Federico Frigerio, in a wonderful panoramic position, surrounded by one of the most extended garden in Brunate.
Going back towards the church here is Villa Biraghi Baldi Scolari (1902) on the left, from the original wooden arch on the façade, Villa Pierreard Marinoni Schmidlin (1919), which soars into the sky and was inspired by transalpine architecture, and Villa Calderini Aliverti Calmes Maddalena (1921), huge building characterized by an Assyro-Babylonian style. Pass the nice S.Andrea church, with its two façades, and walk along the Albergo Bellavista (1896), which seems a mountain chalet. Reach the funicular square to admire the incredible bulk of Grand Hotel Milano (1911), designed by architect Manfredini in a decent Liberty style, with inside and outside polished decorations, to satisfy demanding customers who spent their holidays in Brunate.