Melchiorre Cesarotti (1730-1808) occupies very special place in the history of Selvazzano. A writer, translator, poet and linguist, he envisaged his villa at Selvazzano not just as a rural residence but as a place that embodied the key aspects a personal culture which was a mix of the Arcadian, the Enlightened and the Pre-Romantic. The villa and its gardens were visited by such figures as Madame de Stael and Ippolito Pindemonte, and Cesarotti himself would describe those gardens as “a vegetable poem”, a more complete living embodiment of the poetics first outlined in his Ragionamento sopra l’origine e i progressi dell’arte poetica (1762), developed in his Saggio sulla filosofia del gusto (1785), and given actual expression in his translation of the Poems of Ossian. This was a poetics that gave Nature priority over Civilization, Sensibility precedence over Rationality, and set Imagination above Artifice.
It was around 1792 when the famous writer began work on transforming the country residence that he had called Selvaggiano (a name that punned on the word selvaggio [wild, untamed]); the project took almost ten years, producing a final result that was rich in literary and philosophical significance. The Romantic-style grounds and the barchessa outbuildings have recently undergone restoration .