Historic outline of Villa Manzoni
Brusuglio (Mi)


The present Villa Manzoni belonged to the family of Counts Imbonati who built its oldest part at the end of the seventeenth century. After the death of Carlo Imbonati in 1805 the house and the land were left by will to Giulia Beccaria, the mother of Alessandro Manzoni (1785-1873) one of the most important Italian novelist, poet and playwright, best known as the author of The Betrothed (1825-27, trans. 1834).
After the death of her friend Carlo Imbonati, with whom she had lived in Paris for a long time, Giulia Beccaria reapproached to her son Alessandro who had been sent to boarding-school in Italy. Giulia Beccaria and Alessandro lived for a while in France before coming for the first time to Brusuglio in 1807.
The house had been untenanted by the Imbonati family for many years. Therefore when the Manzoni moved permanently from Paris to Milan in 1810 they decided to restore and reshape the villa. From 1811 to 1818 Alessandro Manzoni personally supervised, together with the Architect Gottardo Speroni, the construction of the central body of the building.
The two existing buildings were linked and the Villa took the present aspect which recalls the French style.
From then on Alessandro Manzoni mainly lived between his Milan house in Via Morone 1, which he bought in 1813 and were is presently housed the Centro Nazionale di Studi Manzoniani, and Brusuglio, his country house, were the family moved during summer.
In Brusuglio, a really pleasant spot, Don Lisander (as he was called) devoted himself to writing and it is exactly here that, at the foot of a mighty tree, still in the garden, he wrote among the other writings of the period, the ode on Napoleonís death, Il Cinque Maggio (The Fifth of May, 1822).
In Brusuglio he also devoted himself to his other passion, that for agriculture, and grew grapevine, mulberry and cotton.
From 1810 to 1820 he devoted himself to creating the wide park were he loved to walk and converse with his friends, among which were Tomaso Grossi and the abbot Antonio Rosmini. In 1813 Manzoni had a hillock raised on top of which a belvedere was built where the mountains of Lecco and in particular Mount Resegone could be admired.
He planted many trees, still there, such as planes, chestnuts, magnolias and beeches and he also introduced some new species unknown at the time, such as the Robinia Pseudo Acacia (false acacia).
Count Giovanni Lanza di Mazzarino, direct descendant of Alessandro Manzoni, lived here with his wife Lycia, born Marchesi Belingieri, uncles of the present owner, for more then half a century, preserving and enriching the house. Their great love for animals prompted them, among other activities, to introduce in Italy the Chihuahua breed , now known as Chihuahua of Brusuglio , giving further renown to the house.
The Villa and the park, which are still the private residence of the descendants of the family have remained unchanged and maintain unspoiled the charm of the numerous witnesses of Manzoni not only as a writer but also as architect and botanist.