The Bellagio Center: A Brief History



From a notorious fortress on the top of the promontory in ancient times to a luxurious palace in the end of the Middle Ages, from a villa and a monastery in the hands of wealthy families to the private home of a generous and kind Princess and now as a philanthropic Center, the property has served many functions in its long life.


What could an American foundation, dedicated to the tackling of the world's most intractable social problems, do with an historic villa on 53 remote acres so far from the Foundation's New York headquarters? Dean Rusk, then the president of the Rockefeller Foundation, must have asked himself and been asked that question many times.


Rusk quickly realized however, that the Bellagio property provided an unparalleled opportunity for the Foundation to pursue an innovative brand of philanthropy, one focused on dialogue, study, and fellowship among far-flung people in decision-making or galvanizing positions who could help enhance communities around the world.


Read more about the Bellagio Center's rich history (PDFs):


President's Letter and Introduction

The Promontory

Roman Times

End of the Roman Empire and High Middle Ages

Middle Ages

Visconti and Sforza Periods

The Property During Marchesino Stanga's Time

The Sfondrati Family

The Serbelloni Family

Principessa della Torre e Tasso

The Rockefeller Foundation



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