The Villa Reale was built at the wish of the Empress Maria Theresa of Austria between 1777 and 1780, as a summer residence for her son Ferdinand. It followed the typical model of Lombard country homes. The building was planned by Piermarini, in neo-classical style, with a C-shaped layout and a central reception block. To these were added two lateral wings for the rooms and a further two sections dedicated to the servants and the stables. The total number of rooms was close to seven hundred.