If you are heading to Milan and want to peek behind the doors of one of its grand residences, make a beeline for Villa Necchi. An oasis of calm in the centre of the city, this architect-designed villa also serves as a fascinating museum, documenting the lives of the family who lived there, alongside a covetable collection of furnishings and decorative arts, providing an intriguing insight into 1930s design.
Surrounded by a private garden, swimming pool and tennis court, the villa was built by architect Piero Portaluppi in 1935 for the Necchi Campiglio family, part of the era’s wealthy industrial middle class of Milan and inventors of the well-known Necchi sewing machine.
After the end of WWII, the style of the villa changed direction with the arrival of the architect Tommaso Buzzi, whose relaxation of the rigidity of the original 1930s design can be seen through introduction of generous fabrics and wall hangings, as well as a general softening of surfaces. At the same time, a more classic collection of vintage furnishings replaced the original modern pieces, in response to the traditional taste for antiques in Milanese interiors.
Villa Necchi went on to play a central role in the 2009’s tragic love story, Io Sono Amore (I am Love), directed by Luca Guadagnino and starring Tilda Swinton.
The house was donated to the Fondo Ambiente Italiano (Italy’s National Trust) by Gigina Campiglio Necchi in 2001 and opened to the public in 2008 after restoration works. Visitors can visit its gardens freely, or book to join regular tours of the house.
Villa Necchi, Via Mozart, 14, 20122 Milano MI, Italy, fondoambiente.it.