Today we visited Villa Melzi - a beautiful estate and garden created by Francesco Melzi d’Eril, count of Lodi and Vice president of the First Italian Republic in the time of Napoleon. He decided around 1800 to build a summer residence at Bellagio on Lake Como.
Melzi had a strong interest in botany, and European botanists at that time were very interested in “exotic“ trees, including many from North America. Europe is missing many species and genera that exist in Asia and North America (in Europe they were wiped out by the Ice Age, as their retreat trees had nowhere to retreat to the south was blocked by the Alps and the Pyrenees). So while the garden has many beautiful, huge European oaks, beech and pine species and cultivars, it also has Melzi’s “exotics” - tulip trees, Chilean wine palms, various pines from Mexico, and one of the largest deodar cedars I have ever seen (in the photo below, look for the human being in the photo to see how large it is).
The most famous trees in the garden are the London planes in a long allée on the border of the lake.
I recommend a visit for tree-lovers!