Inside a Restored Italian Greenhouse Residence Built in 1901 – Robb Report

One of Lake Como’s most celebrated architectural marvels, transformed into a unique residence, is now available for an undisclosed price. 

Located in Griante, Italy, the Villa Maria Greenhouse is a charming four-bedroom, four-bathroom residence that is like living in a jewel box or a museum. The Art Nouveau-style structure was originally built in 1901 and modeled after the award-winning greenhouse model seen at the 1900 Paris Exposition. The greenhouse was completely renovated and transformed between 1985 and 1990 into a livable residence in accordance with the authorization by the Superintendency for Cultural and Artistic Heritage. 

Villa Maria Greenhouse

The entrance gallery has 26-foot-high ceilings and frescoed walls.

Property At Lake Como/AC Photo Studio

The property spans 2.5 acres and is located within the greater Villa Maria park. There are two structures: the 4,091-square-foot greenhouse, as well as a separate Lombard mannerism-style villa. However, it’s the light-flooded greenhouse that makes this property unique. It’s situated within the sunniest and quietest area of Villa Maria park and is protected from the wind thanks to the towering trees on the property.

Griante is perched approximately 164 feet above Lake Como, and while there’s no direct lake access, it’s not a far drive from lakeside activities and restaurants. As such, the estate is ensconced within the mountains, with spectacular views of the Grigne mountains at every turn, whether you’re playing a game of tennis on the grass court or enjoying a cup of tea in the living room.

Villa Maria Greenhouse

The light-filled dining room.

Property At Lake Como/AC Photo Studio

The greenhouse lets in plenty of natural light and boasts high ceilings and ornate detail reminiscent of the Arts and Crafts movement from which the Art Nouveau style originated. Organic shapes and curves and stylized design elements dominate the villa.

Upon entrance to the villa, you are welcomed by a reception room with 26-foot-high ceilings, stunning frescoed walls, a grand piano, and a plethora of plants. Beyond the foyer is the dining room and spacious living room, which both feature crisp white walls perfect for displaying an impressive art collection. Interior windows allow each room to feel private yet connected, while arched doorways lead to a billiards room and to the impressive kitchen. The bedrooms are dappled with sunlight, and there are two impressive primary suites that share a bathroom with a private Jacuzzi.

Villa Maria Greenhouse

The living room.

Property At Lake Como/AC Photo Studio

The south-facing greenhouse residence is in a class of its own, and while it is fit for modern living, the unconventional layout, soaring ceilings, and walls of glass transport you to a bygone era. The current owners have also designed the property with highly valuable antique rugs, furniture, art, lamps, and statues that pair well with the history of the villa and the one-of-a-kind architecture. Antiques also can be found outside, particularly in the oval-shaped fountain that is adorned with a bronze crocodile and antique vases. 

The property’s outdoor amenities include a large swimming pool with ample lounge space, a grass tennis court, a bocce ball court, and private parkland, plus access to the public Villa Maria park, home to many walking paths bordered by centuries-old trees. There are also four parking spaces, two of which are covered by an iron gazebo with a glass roof. 

Villa Maria Greenhouse

One of four bedrooms.

Property At Lake Como/AC Photo Studio

“This is a dream property in one of the world’s most spectacular settings,” says listing agent Lone Heron of Property At Lake Como/Luxury Portfolio International. “The rich history is unmatched, and the architecture is sublime. Whoever has the privilege of residing within and enjoying the sheer beauty of this estate is going to become part of a legacy that dates back more than 100 years. They will become stewards of an exceptionally rare offering.”

The greenhouse once played host to botanical exhibitions in the late 19th-century by American businessman Martin Clerc, who commissioned Villa Maria. Lugano, Italy is just a 30-minute drive and St. Moritz is 1.5 hours away. It’s also easily accessible to some of Italy, Switzerland, and France’s most beloved destinations. 

The home is co-listed by Heron and Marco Badalla of Property At Lake Como/Luxury Portfolio International. 

Click here for more photos of the Villa Maria Greenhouse.

Property At Lake Como/AC Photo Studio

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