In the middle of a remarkable terraced garden next to the town of Varenna, a former 13th-century convent of Cistercian nuns was gradually transformed by a series of owners into a noble residence and finally into a house museum. The building has a small three-arched projecting loggia with a terrace above it overlooking the lake. Visitors, now guests of the province of Lecco, can explore pleasant eclectic interiors refurbished with period furnishings and enjoy the botanical garden.
Going into the details of the last owners, the villa and garden was purchased in 1897 by the German entrepreneur Walter Kees, who had the building renovated and the garden enlarged to its current size, with a lakeside frontage of almost two kilometres. It was requisitioned by the Italian state as war debt after the First World War. In 1925, the villa and garden were bought by the hydrobiologist Marco De Marchi, who left them to the state upon his death as a place of study.
Villa Monastero is now also an internationally renowned convention centre, and for some years has been offering private and public companies the opportunity to organise high-level training activities.