It is an ancient convent and a patrician residency.
The garden is rich in exotic plants, with statues, little temples and balustrades. The name of the Villa comes from the ancient Cistercian monastery of Saint Mary, probably founded in 1200. In 1567, the monastery was suppressed by the cardinal Federico Borromeo and was transformed into a private mansion. From 1953 the Villa hosts scientific, administrative and cultural courses and meetings, today managed by the Province of Lecco through Istituzione Villa Monastero as its operating body.