Robecco sul Naviglio, Villa Gandini
5 kilometres from Abbiategrasso, 3 from Magenta and an even shorter distance – a stroll – from Cassinetta di Lugagnano, the very pretty burgh of Robecco is a sort of “older brother” of the latter. It has the same understated tone but also a sophistication of its own, the same style of aristocratic villas, the same Naviglio Grande to sustain a sort of communication between the water and the surrounding atmosphere.
On the right bank of the canal stands what is perhaps the most famous building in the village, Villa Gandini or “Villa Gaia”, so called because already at the end of the 15th century, the Duke of the Milan Sforzas, Ludovic the Moor, used it as a place of relaxation and amusement. It is the oldest residence in Robecco, one of the first on the Naviglio Grande, and with its three courtyards, its layout is reminiscent of urban castles and palaces of the Renaissance. On the canal side, the villa, which had belonged to the Borromeo, Biglia and Confalonieri families, features an 18th century balcony and trompe-l’oeil mouldings. In the main courtyard, porticoed on three sides, restoration work has brought to light some 16th century frescoes. The interior, furnished with period pieces, boasts splendid wooden ceilings in the rooms overlooking the canal, the 1760 main staircase (originally it was fitted with a ramp for horses), the monochromatic decorations that are possibly a neo-classical work by Andrea Appiani and a study in late baroque style.