Ticino and Grisons Region

I cannot recommend highly enough a visit to Villa Panza.
We started off our guided tour with a walk around the park since Villa Panza was designed and decorated with the surrounding parkland and trees always in mind, such as the double alley of Hornbeam.
From the house we were able to see the top of this trimmed double avenue of trees.

The collection of contemporary art fitted in perfectly with the historic villa. We were lucky enough to have as our guide, Patrik Carroll of the FAI (Italian equivalent of the National Trust).

We hope to do other visits in the area next year.

Penny Osti

On the hillside of Biumo Superiore overlooking the roof tops of Varese “The City of Gardens”, in the 18th century “Villa of Delights” were purposely built as summer residences for the recreational pursuits of wealthy Milanese families.
Villa Panza is no exception and takes its name from the last family to live there. Giuseppe and Giovanna Panza were prolific and avid collectors of Contemporary mainly American Art in the second half of 20th century. In 1996 they gifted their home with a permanent collection to FAI.
Panza was a man with a heightened sense of the aesthetic, ahead of his time in tastes, a philosopher who thought long term.
Post WW2 as wealthy Americans sought out the art in Europe, the Panza’s went West recognising the creative energy and intellectual artistic talent of many yet unknown contemporary American artists. They invited them to the villa to create installations, like the artists of light.
James Turrell, obsessed with the changing colour of the sky, or Dan Flavin and his fluorescent neon bulbs casting coloured light onto blank walls.
We walked through the English landscaped gardens in Autumn sunshine admiring the exterior of the villa, while Patrik Caroll our expert guide told us it’s history.
Inside he skilfully explained each work of art and the original intent and techniques of that artist. Thereby, he imparted to us his shared passion with Panza for Minimalist and Conceptual Art. An overriding impression was, with what deliberation Panza had chosen how to display his collection. He wanted each room to display only one artist’s work, feeling essentially that art was a mental exercise not just for the artist but, also the observer and the surrounding space must be uncluttered and in harmony with the art works on display.
In keeping with his ethos was a sculpture by Meg Webster displayed in the courtyard. An inverted industrial sized metal cone with an open flat top filled with water reflecting the sky.  Artificial and idea, not depicting it, but in harmony with nature.
Already with plenty to digest, we paused inhouse for an elegant light lunch.

Jenny Pappert