Biumo Superiore (VA) Panza Villa & Collection

Biumo Superiore (Varese) Villa & Panza Collection
Biumo Superiore (Varese) Villa & Panza Collection – Photo © Giorgio Majno, Milan

The villa Panza

Surrounded by a magnificent Italian garden, Villa Menafoglio Litta Panza in Biumo was built in the mid-XVIII century by Marquis Paolo Antonio Menafoglio and extended in the neo-classic period by architect Luigi Canonica, commissioned by Duke Pompeo Litta Visconti Arese.

Photo © Franco Pontiggia, Varese
Photo © Giorgio Majno, Milan

The villa Panza is famous throughout the world for the collection of contemporary art that Giuseppe Panza di Biumo began creating in the 1950s. The halls and the huge stables today exhibit more than one hundred works by contemporary artists, as well as rich XVI-XIX century furnishings and an important collection of African and pre-Columbian art.

Photo © Franco Pontiggia, Varese
Photo © Franco Pontiggia, Varese

The Villa Panza park

The enormous park of Villa Panza (more than 33,000 square meters) opens towards the city and the pre-Alps; it was redesigned in the first decades of the 1800s on the basis of English landscape principles, albeit respecting and retaining  the two main perspective axes characterized by the two large central fountains typical of formal 1700s gardens. This helped create large green areas and romantic places – such as the small lake, the grotto and the hill with the small temple – while the geometrical “parterre” in front of the villa closed by the long grove was unchanged.

Photo © Giorgio Majno, Milan
Photo © Giorgio Majno, Milan

The Villa Panza Empire hall

The villa Panza was extended in 1830 with the construction of a new single-storey building intended as a large and sumptuous dining room. This important addition was integrally designed by neo-classic architect Luigi Canonica, who also designed the stove, the floor patterning, the consoles and all the linking architectural elements. The three enormous crystal chandeliers and the fresco decoration of the ceiling also date from the same period. The walls have four monochrome paintings by American painter David Simpson.

Photo © Giorgio Colombo, Milan
Photo © Giorgio Colombo, Milan

The apartment of G. Panza

The entrance to the apartment of Giuseppe Panza, on the first floor of the villa, looks over the main courtyard, open towards the garden, and separates the two side wings of the villa. The walls are enlivened by huge monochrome paintings by Phil Sims, in keeping with Giuseppe Panza’s strict decision to dedicate each room only to one artist. Here, as in the other rooms of the villa, the famous Milanese collector has managed to achieve a happy combination between works of the latest trends in contemporary art and the highly-prized furniture of the classic tradition.panza6

The villa Panza farm wing

The farm wing of the villa was entirely converted by Giuseppe Panza. The protagonists of environmental art in Los Angeles – Robert Irwin, Maria Nordman and James Turrell, who particularly work with light, space and perception – have designed new installations specifically for certain settings in this wing, personally experimenting with colors, lighting and the atmospheric quality of the surrounding environment. In adjacent rooms, the neon colors of Dan Flavin cancel out the original shadows, composing new volumes and giving life to three-dimensional paintings where once can move and breathe.

Photo © Giorgio Colombo, Milan
Photo © Giorgio Colombo, Milan

The Villa Panza large stables

As of 1824, Duke Pompeo Litta commissioned substantial work on the farm buildings. These included the construction of the large Stables, built in 1830 to a project by architect Luigi Canonica and currently used as an exhibition area thanks to a new set-up designed by Gae Aulenti. When there are no temporary shows, the luminous area characterized by a lowered barrel vault ceiling is home to Desire, an important sculpture finalized in 1981 by Afro-American artist Martin Puryear, the initiator of organic art.

How to get there without a car:

– Take the Trenord train from Milan Cadorna station, or the train from Porta Garibaldi Station. Check on the site for the current schedules, both stations have two trains every hour. The stations of the two railroads in Varese are very close to each other. Approx. 1 hour.

– Urban bus line “A”: Villa Panza is reached with the bus line to Varese departing from Piazzale Trieste, near the station of Varese of LeNord railways. Buy an urban bus ticket (1 euro) in any newsstand in Varese.

Courtesy in part of FAI Fondo Ambiente Italiano

William Dellorusso
Lombardia in Cucina: The Flavours of Lombardy

Milan-style risotto, pizzoccheri Valtellinesi, and pumpkin tortelli to start; casoeula, Milan-style cutlets, frogs stewed in tomato to follow, and to send, a slice of sbrisolona cake or panettone.
Lombardy surprises with the richness of its culinary traditions and natural ingredients, which modernity has barely affected.
"Milano in Cucina" captures this kaleidoscope of flavours, with contributions from some of the most celebrated chefs on the culinary scene, who pay homage to their territory, and whose skill is able to present a modern vision in keeping with the region's progressive spirit.

The Italian Academy of Cuisine
La Cucina: The Regional Cooking of Italy

Fifty years ago, a group of Italian scholars gathered to discuss a problem: how to preserve traditional Italian cooking. They formed the Italian Academy of Cuisine to document classic recipes from every region. The academy’s more than seven thousand associates spread out to villages everywhere, interviewing grandmothers and farmers at their stoves, transcribing their recipes—many of which had never been documented before. This is the culmination of that research, an astounding feat—2,000 recipes that represent the patrimony of Italian country cooking. Each recipe is labeled with its region of origin, and it’s not just the ingredients but also the techniques that change with the geography. Sprinkled throughout are historical recipes that provide fascinating views into the folk culture of the past. There are no fancy flourishes here, and no shortcuts; this is true salt-of-the-earth cooking. The book is an excellent everyday source for easily achievable recipes, with such simple dishes as White Bean and Escarole Soup, Polenta with Tomato Sauce, and Chicken with Lemon and Capers. For ease of use there are four different indexes. La Cucina is an essential reference for every cook’s library.

Milano in Cucina: The Flavours of Milan
The famous Risotto Alla Milanese gets its golden hue from the precious spice saffron. Legend has it that the dish came about when a Milanese painter decided to gild the risotto served at his wedding banquet with a harmless gold-colored dye. In Milan, they traditionally serve Risotto Alla Milanese with ossobuco (braised veal shank).
Traditionally made with raisins and candied citron, or with a creamy cream filling, the light, fluffy brioche-like bread called panettone may be tall or short, covered with chocolate or flavored with various liquors, but it’s always a symbol of the Christmas season.
With its hallmark domed shape, panettone graced Christmas tables in Milan since at least the 15th-century. Common knowledge claims its invention is from Milan. It is the most famous Christmas Lombardia food.

The Pax side of the Moon featuring Cesareo
Lombardia (Dicon tutti che sei mia) Quarantine Version - feat. Cesareo (Quarantine Version)

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