The Villa Medici del Vascello immediately captures attention for its magnificence and uniqueness, bringing together in one glance the austere forms of medieval fortification architecture and the refined elements typical of nobleman suburban villas, of which it represents one of the most interesting examples in the entire province of Cremona.
Rich in history and embellished by the lush English park-garden adjacent, it was purchased by the Municipality of San Giovanni in Croce in 2005, subsequently restored and saved from degradation caused by a long period of abandonment, and, starting from May 2014, opened to the public.
Built in 1407 as a defensive fortress, starting from the second half of the 15th century, it underwent that slow transformation process that led it to become a real noble country residence. The first signs of the changed use were impressed by an illustrious lady of the house, Cecilia Gallerani, the famous Lady with an Ermine masterfully portrayed by Leonardo da Vinci in 1489. A woman of great charm and refined intelligence, in San Giovanni in Croce, Cecilia enlivened a small Renaissance court, hosting and entertaining artists and literati of the Lombard Renaissance.
The period of maximum splendor came in the 19th century when Giuseppe Soresina-Vidoni, prince of the Austrian Empire, had the large park developed adjacent to the Villa for an area of 12 hectares. It is an English-style garden, according to the fashion of the time, characterized by originality, where a panoramic lake of sinuous shapes and various buildings in different styles are located. The park is a true jewel for botany enthusiasts and not only: multiple tree and shrub species are present, including some exotic plants among the first imported to Europe, which have created the ideal habitat for a varied wildlife.
Saved from a degradation that would have caused its destruction, the Villa Medici del Vascello and its park are now brought back to life together with the charm of their history and love for art and beauty: a grace for the eyes, mind, and heart.