An elegant 19th-century residence on Lake Maggiore
With its colonnaded façade and public park, Villa Giulia is among the most charming destinations on Lake Maggiore. The building’s history dates back to 1874, when Bernardino Branca, inventor of the famous Fernet bitter, had a house built there, which his son Giuseppe decided to dedicate to his wife Giulia.
The original structure included a retaining wall towards the lake, but this collapsed a few years later in a landslide. During dry periods, the remains of the staircase from that time still emerge. Inside, the villa features unmistakable Art Nouveau decorations that were added in the early 20th century. Further changes were made in the 1930s, when the mansion was converted into Kursaal, the Municipal Casino, and began hosting events, balls and dances in the park.
Today, Villa Giulia is home to the Centro Ricerca Arte Attuale (Centre for Research on Current Art), regularly hosting fascinating exhibitions and shows in its rooms, and cultural events, conferences and musical concerts in its garden.