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Villa Mondadori Lago Maggiore: an extraordinary place, heart of the 20th century culture

Walt Disney, Ernest Hemingway, Thomas Mann, Eugenio Montale, Simenon, Giuseppe Ungaretti are just some of the celebrities, who had the pleasure of spending some time among the walls of this marvellous dwelling, owned by the famous publisher, Arnoldo Mondadori. 


Some places have the power of creating unique experiences, as well as being dream homes. This is the case of Villa La Verbanella in Meina, on Lago Maggiore. Better known as Villa Mondadori, it has been owned by the famous Family of Italian publishers for many years until it was sold a few months ago. Since it has been recently bought by Donatella Versace, who could not miss one of the most prestigious houses for sale Lago Maggiore, this Villa still keeps its starring role as one of the most beautiful locations on the Lake and home for the greatest Italian families.

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During the ‘20s it was purchased by Arnoldo Mondadori, founder of the publishing house, who turned it into a meeting place for many of the greatest intellectuals and writers of the time. 


With its 1,400 sqm, 50 rooms, 20 of which bedrooms and 12 bathrooms, as well as its lush park of about  9,000 sqm, it could really host quite some people, among which we must mention Ungaretti, Montale, Thomas Mann, Hemingway, Walt Disney and Simenon. Last, but not least, the house also features a football pitch, a pool and the private access to the Lake. 


But what really makes this Villa unique is the fireplace in the living room,  where you can still see the signature or a message, written by all the writers who visited the house. Walking through these rooms means experiencing a piece of the history of literature, a relic with an inestimable cultural value. 


Villa Mondadori Lago Maggiore has been buen retiro both for the publisher and his companions for many years and it has also been a refuge during the difficult years of the II World War , when he decided to move the editorial staff and the headquarters of the publishing house to Arona. 


If you like this side of the Lake and are searching for apartments for sale in Arona, then we at Engel & Völkers Lago Maggiore are ready to help you choose the best one for you!  

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In some cases it did happen that important deals were signed here, deals that marked the history of the publishing industry. A famous picture shows Walt Disney and Arnoldo Mondadori during a stay in Italy, when the agreement for the publication of the Italian version of Mickey Mouse was taking shape.  This was the greatest international agreement signed by an Italian publishing house until then. 


Thomas Mann, a famous German novelist, author of  The Buddenbrock and Doctor Faustus, loved enjoying long stays on the lake with all his family. That is why on the second floor of Villa Mondadori you can still find the Suite Thomas Mann. 


Giuseppe Ungaretti and Eugenio Montale, two important characters of the nineteenth-century poetry, wrote their names on the famous fireplace too. 


If you think of a series that made the Mondadori’s publishing house famous, this is with no doubt I Gialli Mondadori. Arnoldo did not miss one of the most prolific and beloved writers in this literary genre: Simenon. The Belgian writer was also a guest in the beautiful Villa in Meina many times. 


Ernest Hemingway is another famous artist, who frequently visited Lago Maggiore. He even set the end of his novel Farewell to Arms on its shores, story that was inspired by his real experience as a soldier during the I World War. It was published in 1946 by Mondadori and translated by Fernanda Pivano. Hemingway’s signature is visible on the above mentioned fireplace too. 

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