Meina, the old town and its villas
How to get
By train: Meina railway station.
Meina is an attractive holiday resort on Lake Maggiore with several superb 19th century villas: Villa Eden, Villa Faraggiana, Villa Pasta "La Favorita", Palazzo Bedone, Villa Bonomi and Villa Faraone. Its period buildings and its picturesque old town are also interesting.
Outstanding among the villas is Villa Faraggiana, famous for its architecture and its art works. An elegant building separated from the street by a great gate guarded by two crouching marble lions, it was built in 1855 as the summer residence of the aristocratic Faraggiana family from Novara. The façade, a perfect reproduction of Neoclassical style, is ornamented with high reliefs depicting the allegorical Roman divinity of Fame; five medallions with the portraits of Dante, Boccaccio, Petrarch, Ariosto and Tasso; and eleven busts of other illustrious Italian figures.
Senator Raffaello Faraggiana, a real patron of the arts and a lover of the rare and the antique, assembled a collection of many authentic artistic and historical treasures in the villa, and also housed an original zoological museum in the lodge, comprising stuffed African animals. After his death the villa fell into a state of disrepair, and was the scene of a series of situations that badly damaged the interior, especially in the dramatic period of the Second World War, when it was used first as a refuge for evacuees, then as a billet for South African soldiers and for Jewish survivors of concentration camps. Today it is a care home for the elderly.
The superb grounds of the villa contain a large number of fine old trees.