The Villa Amalia in Erba, built between 1799 and 1801 by Leopoldo Pollack, is a neoclassical Italian noble residence.
The history of Villa Amalia, which owes its title to Amalia, wife of Rocco Marliani (lawyer and key figure of the years of the Cisalpine and Italian Republic), begins in 1799 with the transformation of the local Franciscan convent of S. Maria degli Angeli and the adjoining church of Sant’Antonio.
The convent complex, consecrated in 1498, was for several centuries a place of worship and prayer for the community of Franciscan friars and observant minor friars who started a series of embellishment and decoration works, in particular of the church, of which still today precious testimonies are preserved, despite the tampering.
With the arrival of the French and the beginning of the Napoleonic suppressions, the convent complex was alienated in 1798 and passed into the hands of the Marliani family, who transformed the building into a prestigious country residence. The work was entrusted to the lawyer Rocco Marliani and to Piermarini’s pupil, Leopoldo Pollack.
The project developed by Pollack, fresh from the interventions at Villa Belgiojoso Bonaparte in Milan and from the Como activities, appears to be based on the choice of preserving the original structure of the pre-existing building, without giving up the monumental effect.
The façade overlooking the park is the most imposing and characterized by a sober neoclassical line and a balanced distribution of the architectural elements, it is marked by a sequence of windows (placed on two orders) and by an Ionic pronaos, by a balcony with a tympanum; the central body of the internal courtyard always has two rows of windows, however refined by precious sculptures and ornamental bas-reliefs, such as festoons of flowers. The plan is developed around an internal courtyard tracing the shapes and the pre-existing structure.
In addition to the work on the building, Pollack undertakes an arrangement of the garden, built in the English style, according to the canons adopted for villas such as the Villa Belgiojoso Bonaparte in Milan and the Villa Pesenti-Agliardi in Sombreno: the park becomes a large turf, delimited from trees arranged in various ways, a stream of water (the Lambroncino) is channeled and sinuous paths inserted. In this context, architectural and sculptural elements are inserted such as statues with a mythological subject, fountains, an obelisk and a monument to the Marlians.