Monte Barro Park: Description
The name is derived from the Milanese family that owned this villa as a second home in 1873 and who renovated the villa extensively, culminating in 1911-1913, thanks to the work of the architect Piero Portaluppi who gave the villa a gracious neo-baroque style. In 1938 it was bought by the industrialist Cavaliere (Sir) Ernesto Bonaiti from Lecco who authorised its use, during wartime (1942-1945), by the Teaching Institute of Mary the Immaculate of Milan (Istituto Magistrale M. Immacolata di Milano) led by the nuns of the Infant Mary (Maria Bambina) who came from two religious backgrounds. In 1954 the compendium Bertarelli was donated to the nuns and in 1965 it started a new rote as a rest home for old nuns.
ln 2003 the villa was bought by the town hall of Galbiate and by Monte Barro Park, the latter being the owner of a Wing of the villa and the gardens. The gardens are an important and charming aspect of the villa, especially for the splendid landscaping and the panorama over the lakes of Brianza. The inclusion of the Native Flora Centre in the villa has involved the maintenance of underground passageways, grottos and the antique glasshouse, and walk-through displays showing how the centre studies and conserves plant biodiversity.
In addition to the Villa and grounds, the Park features an ethnographic museum which documents the daily life of the working class in Brianza and in the Lecco area in the XIX and XX centuries; archaeological museum exhibiting artifacts from the largest Gothic settlement discovered in Italy; a flora experimental centre and an ornithological station.