The villa, built in the opulent Mannerist style, is a large complex that includes the main house, built on a square plan, servants’ quarters, guest apartments, greenhouses, a wet dock and stables. Luigi Erba, musician and collector from Milan, brother of Carlo Erba who owned the pharmaceuticals company of the same name, bought the estate from the Cima della Scala family. The architects Gian Battista Borsani and Angelo Savoldi were commissioned to build the house, which they designed in the style of the 16th-century architect Galeazzo Alessi. The main entrance and principal rooms of the late 19th-century villa face the lake. Typical of the period are the belvedere turret and entrance portico, with porticoes at the side entrances in the same style, but with different proportions. The interior was decorated by Angelo Lorenzoli, with frescoes by Ernesto Fontana. The decorations include friezes, stucco work, gilded plasterwork, ceramic tile and exotic wood flooring and the use of ancient artwork to decorate the walls and ceilings. A great staircase links the ground and first floors, where the bedrooms are. When Luigi Erba’s wife Anna Brivio died, the villa went to their daughter Carla, wife of Count Giuseppe Visconti of Modrone. One of Carla’s sons, the famous film director Luchino Visconti (1906-1976), loved to spend his summer holidays here. The villa houses the museum called ‘Le Stanze di Luchino Visconti’ (The Rooms of Luchino Visconti), which opened in 2005: a centre dedicated to the bond between the celebrated director and Villa Erba, which is now open to the public. The museum is part of a major state-funded project to promote historical and architectural heritage, launched in 2003 The villa is flanked by a vast, flat park with numerous fine specimen trees planted along a botanical trail. In the parterre garden in front of the villa, the green geometries of the old box topiary balls provide an ideal element of connection between the building and the lake.