Photography by Francesco Arena
The narrative unfolds in a series of colonnades, terraces, porticos, trees and natural forms to produce the work that is Dosso Pisani, at the end of the nineteenth century the last refuge of Alberto Carlo Pisani Dossi, a writer, diplomat and man of many talents. Its structure is both austere and visionary, and asymmetric yet geometrical. Innovative of its kind, it stands proud on a spur of natural rock on the hill of Cardina, overlooking the lake and the city of Como.
The construction work on the villa began in 1897 and was designed to reflect its position and place, and the dream of Dossi himself, a man deeply struck by the beauty of the long avenue of cypresses that approach the property. The original architectural design was that of Luigi Conconi, who drew inspiration from the works of the Swiss symbolist painter Arnold Böcklin, who was a particular favourite of Dossi, with the residence reflecting his fantastic vision of Villa Jovis in Capri built by the emperor Tiberius, as well that of the ‘Villa am Meer’.
Dossi retired here in 1901, a few years after the fall of Crispi, and remained at the residence until his death in 1910, the year the villa was completed. Today its sophisticated structure remains unchanged, a hymn to beauty, resonating with literary and figurative ideas, and a place where the boundaries of masonry and nature imperceptibly merge.