Palazzo Gallio

Tiny alleys, steep ascents, old stone houses and mild weather all year round.

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Palazzo Gallio

Tiny alleys, steep ascents, old stone houses and mild weather all year round.

Palazzo Gallio is a cardinal residence located in Gravedona, on the upper Lake Como. Palazzo Gallio is located in an isolated position north of the town on a rocky promontory overlooking the lake. The building was built as the residence of Cardinal Tolomeo Gallio, lord of the Contado delle Tre Pievi. It was founded on the site of the ancient castle of the town, of which some wall portions are preserved on the side of the access staircase to the garden.


The laying of the first stone dates back to around 1586 but was completed after 1607, the year of the cardinal’s death. Palazzo Gallio passed to the Cardinal’s nephews, the Dukes of Alvito, but it was never used as a real residence. During the French and Spanish occupation it was also used as a hospital. After various passages of inheritance, at the beginning of the nineteenth century it was sold to private individuals. Later it was sold to the High Western Lario Mountain Community in 1983.


The building is arranged on a square plan with four corner towers that give the complex an imposing appearance. The north façade, towards the garden, and the south façade, open towards the lake, are characterized by a double order of loggias. The elevations are punctuated by a sequence of rectangular windows with molera stone frames and broken tympanums on the main floor and square windows with stone frames in the basement and first floor. The four towers, slightly protruding from the main body, are completed by loggias open on two sides. The entrance is through a stone access portal placed in the enclosure wall along the Via Regina.

From the garden you reach the entrance stairway. It leads to the loggia, located on the north side, which leads to the main living room and to the staircase leading to the upper floor and the basement. The double-height hall with stucco cornices distributes the rooms located on the main floor which are accessed through openings with stone frames, and to the open loggia towards the lake.


Inside the vast hall are some portraits of women from ancient Rome. In a room, with wooden furnishings, there are some paintings belonging to the Gallio collection. On the opposite side of the hall another room opens, with a wooden furniture in Piedmontese Gothic style and some canvases on the walls. The staircase, decorated with stone frames with geometric patterns, leads to the atrium of the basement. From there you enter a hall that connects the various rooms along the two sides and leads to the terrace towards the lake. On the upper floor the loggia towards the garden allows access to two corridors. which distribute the rooms on the east and west sides and lead to another loggia, set on Ionic columns. Two of the corner towers are connected by spiral staircases that start directly from the lowest level. The other two can be reached via simple ramps from the first floor.

Inside the garden there are two buildings, probably originally intended to host service functions. The garden, which once housed swimming pools and aviaries, consists of terraces sloping down towards the lake.

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