Villa Panza

Bequeathed to FAI by Giuseppe and Giovanna Panza di Biumo in 1996.

A worldwide known centre for contemporary art, Villa Panza dates back to the 18th century, when Marquis Paolo Antonio Menafoglio chose the top of Biumo Hill, in the city of Varese, as the ideal place to build his country residence.

The mansion was expanded and renovated by Luigi Canonica at the beginning of the 19th century and Piero Portaluppi in the 30s of the last century. Its character changed during the 50s, when Count Giuseppe Panza began amassing a collection of contemporary art that over time has become famous all over the world. More than 150 works by American artists, mostly exploring the concepts of light and colour, are harmoniously combined with ancient rooms, Renaissance furniture and precious collections of African and pre-Columbian artifacts. A perfect balance reflecting the prescience and sensibility of the collector, Count Giuseppe Panza, who regarded the crystalline and almost transcendent light of the site as the key concept for his research.

The stable block is particularly significative in this respect: a temple dedicated to light art, this astonishing gallery hosts environmental site-specific works by Dan Flavin, of whose art the Panza Collection boasts the largest number of continuously exhibited pieces, James Turrell and Robert Irwin.

An exhibition venue of international prominence, Villa Panza offers a rich aesthetic experience to both adults and children, who have access to a programme of activities specifically designed for them. It is the ideal place to spend a day surrounded by art, whether it be visiting the building, walking in the park among the Land Art installations, or enjoying a meal at the haute cuisine restaurant “Luce”.

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