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Villa Panza, a magnificent 18th-century villa in Varese (1 hr from Milan), houses one of the most important collections of contemporary American art. This cultural marvel was donated in 1996 to Italy’s National Trust FAI Fondo Ambiente Italiano by Count Giuseppe Panza di Biumo. The count also commissioned several artists to transform the rooms of the villa into environmental works of art. Worthy of note are those by Dan Flavin, James Turrel and Robert Irwin.
More than 150 works by American artists, inspired by the themes of light and colour, coexist in harmony with the antique rooms, Renaissance furnishings and precious collections of African and pre-Columbian art.
The rustic wing now houses a stunning gallery of site-specific environmental artworks, almost a temple consecrated to the element of light. Prominent among these are the works of Dan Flavin, whose collection boasts the largest concentration of works on permanent display.
The 18th-century villa opens its windows onto a magnificent Italian-style garden and has a tendency to be called “villa of delight” for obvious reasons. Among the 33,000 square metres of parkland enriched by Land Art works and the ‘Luce’ restaurant, it is possible to spend an entire day immersed in art.