How to get
By train: the nearest railway station is Arona.
In common with all the main towns on Lake Maggiore, Arona possesses a number of fine mansion houses with superb gardens, which were once the summer residences of their wealthy owners. The best-known of these is undoubtedly Villa Ponti, a splendid 18th century Baroque mansion located in Via San Carlo not far from the 15th century Palazzo Borromeo.
The villa was built on the bastions of the Rocca (the ancient castle of Arona) around 1760 by Bartolomeo Pertossi, a wealthy merchant and supporter of Napoleon, who stayed here as Pertossi’s guest on his return from the Egyptian campaign. However, the villa is named after the eminent engineer Gian Giacomo Ponti, assistant to Thomas Edison, head of the SIP (Piedmont Hydroelectric Company) and founder of the STIPEL telephone company, who was born here on 28 December 1878.
Despite undergoing a series of changes during the 19th century, much of the original nucleus of the house remains unchanged. The Baroque façade has a rusticated ashlar ground floor, and appears as a monumental entrance with wrought iron balconies and windows embellished with finely worked grilles. The interior has rooms of great refinement, and a graceful bar adapted from a portico. The house is surrounded by 5,000 sq mt of grounds, with ancient beeches, silver cedars, magnolias, azaleas and rhododendrons, and a fine Baroque fountain.
Today Villa Ponti is a venue for art exhibitions which frequently include paintings by world masters like Picasso and Kandinsky, and also hosts prestige events such as conferences, receptions and classical music concerts.
Tel + 39 0322 44629