Isola del Garda
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Right opposite Villa Ruhland, looking onto the lake, one will notice an island. The island was already inhabited and used in the Roman times, which was proved by the discovery of 130 gravestones from that period. Following the fall of the Roman Empire, the island was abandoned and the first known records emerge in the year 879, when Carloman granted the island to the San Zeno monks from Verona. Around the year 1220, the island was visited by St Francis of Assisi, who concluded that the island was an ideal place for monks due to its remote location and isolation from the outside world. He even set up a tiny hermitage in the rocky part of the island. The island served as the centre of meditation and novitiate. The monastery was shut down at the decree of Napoleon in 1797, from which point it changed owners several times until it was acquired by Duke Gaetano de Ferrari and his wife Archduchess Maria Annenkoff. In the years between 1880 and 1900, the new owners took on a task of beautifying the island by planning and implementing landscaping designs in the form of a park, embankment reinforcement and an Italian garden. The undertaking required supply of a vast amount of fertile soil and planting of hundreds of species of exotic plants and trees. Before the prince’s death, the couple began the construction of a new Venetian-neogothic style villa. The building was designed by Luigi Rovelli and the works lasted from 1890 till 1903. It is suspected that the construction of the villa is closely correlated with Villa Ruhland as the styles of the gazebo and the insular villa seem to be overlapping.

Isola del Garda

After the death of the archduchess, the island was inherited by her daughter Anne Marie, the wife of Duke Scipione Borghese of Rome. Anne Marie was the next in line to run and take care of the family estate. After Scipione’s death in 1927, the next person to become the guardian of the island was his daughter Livia, who was married to Count Alessandro Cavazza from Bologna. The property was kept in an excellent condition and passed on to Count Camillo, who entrusted the estate to his wife and their seven children. As of today, the four Cavazza brothers and their three sisters manage the island and the family estate, which include vineyards, olive groves, wineries and oil pressing manufactures.