Villa Bernasconi is a clear example of an isolated mansion with an Art Nouveau turret, close to the shores of Lake Como. Located in the municipality of Cernobbio, it was built by the architect Alfredo Campanini from Milan, on commission of the textile entrepreneur Davide Bernasconi.
Villa Bernasconi is on two floors, with a basement and a turret. It has two entrances, one located on the east side, the other on the south side. The main element of the building is the central staircase that becomes a panoramic turret, continuing in height beyond the upper floor.
Each decorative element has been designed by Campanini in every detail, harmoniously integrating materials and shapes. Exterior: the facade is embellished with decorative cements in hammered and engraved concrete plaster, simulating a masonry of large blocks. Each architectural element is embellished with real sculptures, representing figures from the silkworm's life cycle. Another decorative element are the friezes in ceramic tiles, different from each other, with flowers and stylized plant elements, in strong colour contrasts. Under the eaves there are inserts of tiles with blue background and white petals, perhaps inspired by magnolia. The wrought irons are the result of the collaboration between Campanini and Alessandro Mazzucotelli. The wrought iron of Villa Bernasconi are multiple: the gate, the parapets of the stairs and balconies, some windows and doors. There is a great variety of themes: wide, fleshy leaves, graphic elements of Viennese echo in the parapets of the secondary staircase, roses and iron wires in the structure of the main staircase. Interiors: the interior is dominated by Liberty style elements. The large space of the main staircase is characterized by a three-door window that transmits light and colour. The painted wall decorations are inspired by the naturalist repertoire. The fixed wooden furniture, the carefully shaped doors and windows, the finely designed handles express a strong coherence of design and execution, which harmoniously blends structure and decoration. Unfortunately almost nothing has remained of the original furnishings, except a marble column with case and palm.
The entrepreneur Bernasconi founded his industry in 1876, known as Tessiture Bernasconi, during the 20th century the industry expanded considerably, and in addition to the factories houses were built for workers and employees. Cavalier Bernasconi decided to leave his son the old manor house (now home of the municipal offices) and build a new home. The residence was to represent the success achieved, the fashion of the times and the climate of optimism and widespread well-being.
The mansion was completed in 1906, and after decades of different uses of the family home, the villa was purchased in 1989 by the Municipality of Cernobbio. Now the mansion hosts the first permanent talking museum dedicated to Liberty and the Bernasconi family.