The villa formed the main part of the property annexed to the Convent of Santa Maria Assunta of Cernobbio, which was run by the nuns of the Cluniac Benedictine order. It is said that one of the first descriptions of this villa dates back to the 15th century, where the villa housed approximately 25 nuns who organised a convent boarding-school and administered the agricultural lands.
Anna Brivio and the aristocrat Commendatore Luigi Erba (brother and heir to Carlo Erba) bought the property in 1882. The Erba family often stayed in Cernobbio, receiving important guests; artists and personalities from the political and industrial worlds. The villa also held many musical evenings, concerts and parties during the early years of the century. When the couple died, the property passed to their daughter Carla, who married Duke Giuseppe Visconti in Cernobbio.
Villa Erba was built in the late nineteenth century and played host to numerous important people from the cultural, political and industrial worlds of their day. In the 1920s the villa passed to Carla Erba who became the wife of Duke Giuseppe Visconti of Modrone, and thus the mother of the renowned director Luchino Visconti, who lived in the villa.
In the post-war period the villa was divided between the Visconti brothers (sons of Carla and Duke Giuseppe Visconti) one of whom became a famous film director Luchino Visconti. It was here that he completed the editing of his film “Ludwig”. He died four years later.
“The Rooms of Luchino Visconti” inside the museum were opened on the 25th July 2005: a centre dedicated to the bond between the celebrated director and the Villa Erba, which is now open to the public.
The Visconti heirs sold the villa and most of the surrounding land in 1986 to a public consortium which purchased it with the intention of turning it into the present-day exhibition and conference centre which is frequented to date by many important figures and celebrities.
A restoration project begain in January 2003 to restore this 19th century stately home to its former splendour.
Largo Luchino Visconti 4,
22012 Cernobbio (CO)
Tel: (+39) 02 4997 7134