Overlooking Seneca Lake in Geneva, New York, Geneva On The Lake was built in 1914 as a private home. Modeled after Villa Lancellotti in Frascati, Italy, its interior includes Italian marble fireplaces, wall tapestries, Ionic columns and wood-coffered ceilings. The villa later became a monastery, and then, in 1981, an elegant small resort.

A Brief Architectural History

The Nester Estate – Original Architects (1910-1914)
Lewis Colt Albro
Harrie T. Lindeberg

The original Nester Estate is architecturally significant as the work of two important early twentieth century architects of country residences. Both architect’s early training was with McKim, Mead and White; Albro from 1895 to 1904, Lindeberg until 1906 when they established a firm of their own which gained a reputation for the design of fine homes such as the Nester villa. The use of marble fireplaces which appear to have been removed from Italian buildings as well as the coffered ceilings and handsomely panelled formal rooms reflect the influence of Standford White on both architects. The design of the symmetrical gardens on an axis with the villa was the work of the Rochester firm of Pitkin and Weinrichter and shows a close collaboration between the architects and landscape designers.

geneva on the lake prototype front steps
geneva on the lake prototype

The Capuchin Monastery 1949-74

In 1949 the Capuchin monks added the south wing as a chapel and classrooms and the north wing as a dormitory and dining room.

Geneva On The Lake—Designers of the Renovation 1979-80

Schickel Design & Devel. Co., Loveland, Oh. & Ithaca, N.Y.
Peacock, Garn & Partners, Cincinnati , Ohio
Bentley, Meisner Associates, Cincinnati, Ohio

The design conception for the renovation of GENEVA ON THE LAKE is the work of William Schickel, the principal designer of SCHICKEL. Mr. Schickel is a nationally recognized designer, responsible for a body of important work throughout the U.S., including: residences, commercial buildings, churches, renovation designs for noted historic structures, major commissions of stained glass works, urban design and condominium developments, paintings, sculptures, artifacts, furniture designs and interiors. Among his current projects are new churches in Wisconsin, Ohio and Virginia. He has received a Gold Medal and National Honor Awards for the renovation of the 100 year old Trappist Abbey at Gethsemani, Kentucky, the National Design Review Award for five years, has exhibited stained glass & designed objects in major museums, including the Smithsomnian and Brooklyn Museums, and is published in Architechtural Forum, Architectural Record, and The New York Times Magazine. The architects were Peacock, Garn and Partners; and the landscape architects, Bentley, Meisner Associates.

There were two major aims in the conception of the 1980 renovation. First to preserve in every way possible the finest in the architectural form and decorative elements of the original villa, and second, to use these old forms in a new design to create the most modern, comfortable and attractive resort for today’s guest.

geneva on the lake view
geneva on the lake prototype front steps
geneva on the lake view
geneva on the lake prototype

Some Brief Background Notations on “Geneva on the Lake” Villa

The “Geneva on the Lake” Villa, built between 1910 and 1914 by the late Byron M. Nester, is a faithful replica, although on a diminutive scale, of the imposing and grand Lancellotti Villa in Frascati in the Alban Hills outside Rome (see Plate I.)

The Lancellotti Family is recorded in Rome as far back as the mid fifteenth century. This aristocratic lineage included among its members high churchmen such as Scipio Lancellotti who became a Cardinal on 15 December 1583 and built the beautiful “Lancellotti Chapel” (no longer in existence) of the historically important Church of St. John Lateran, and Orazio Lancellotti, created a Cardinal on 17 August 1611. The Lancellotti palaces in the city of Rome were designed and built by such famous architects as Francesco da Volterra, Carlo Maderno and Domenichino. Their Roman palazzo on the Via dei Coronari, modified several times, was finished in its present from in the nineteenth century.

The garden of the Lancellotti country retreat in Frascati consisted of a spacious enclosure bounded by the splendid habitation at one end and balanced by a teatro d’acqua (water theatre) at the other. The sides were planted with huge walls of carefully clipped ilex. The lawn parterre was patterned with box-edged arabesques filled with dwarf plants, giving the effect known as carpet-bedding. This garden was, and remains, an outstanding example of the style of the time.

At the “Geneva on the Lake” Villa, the lawn parterre is of a more modest design reminiscent of the Frascati prototype. The water theatre has been supplanted by an elegant pool surrounded by columns topped with colossal clay jardinières (in the Borghese style) which successfully frames a magnificent view of beautiful Seneca Lake.

“Geneva on the Lake,” in its superb exterior design and its exquisitely decorated interior (with carved marble fireplaces, woodworking in classical motifs and gilt coffered ceilings in the Italian Renaissance style), is an architectural and landscape ensemble of historic merit. It has been beautifully renovated and successfully adapted for contemporary use by the Schickel Design and Development Corporation and is once again a jewel of the Geneva, New York community.

Anthony agostino signature
Anthony D’ Agostino, Ph. D.

joseph polizzi signature
Joseph Antinoro-Polizzi, Ph. D.

Consultants, Classical and Renaissance Architectural Restoration
Rochester, New York

May 19, 1982
Mr. Norbert Schickel
Schickel Design and Development Co.
100 Fairview Square
Ithaca, NY 14850

Dear Mr. Schickel:

Listed below are works of art accumlated around the world for the main hall of an Italian Villa to be enjoyed by people of taste and money.

A beautifully carved oak English mid 17th Century bible Box on a latter table, 17th Century. This type of box was used to store Bibles and other valuable books.

A typical adaptation of an 18 ph Century Mexican hand crafted mirror in tin.

A Portuguese planter made up of original 18th Century Portuguese tiles which are in good color.

The Lancellotti Dining Room

geneva on the lake view
A pair of original 17th Centruy side chairs in walnut and tooled leather with hand crafted nails. The leather seats had disintegrated so we have replaced them with velvet.

Amodern copy, in tapestry, of an 18th Century Duch painting of a basket of flowers.

A pair of brakets for over buffet, antique fragments of an 18th Century Italian Chandelier, now adapted to serve as sconces.

A sideboard, actually American about 1830 but so in the classic Italian Renaissance style that it was easy to add those touches.

A pair of candlesticks hand crafted in a typical 17th Century style.

A modern copy of an elegant heraldic medieval tapestry in a blaze of clour.

A pair of Chinese vases, 18th Century, modern copies of Kang Shi.

A pair of gold elegantly carved panels from a scrumptious 18th Century French carriage.

A pair of gigantic Italian Renaissance church candlestickss in original paint, probably early 18th Century.

A large blue and white Delph plate. It is probably early 19th Century.

A pair of Italian pottery caryatids, copy of Renaissance, turned into wall sconces.

A pair of modern adaptations tables of a typical Italian Renaissance table with hand forged steel stretchers.

Very Truly Yours,
Walter I. Farmer, ASID, AIA

“The stunning four-diamond Geneva On The Lake, has a garden reminiscent of Versailles.”

~ Wall Street Journal 

geneva on winter
geneva on the lake pool
“This is a resort that echoes with the tranquility of a different place and time, of a leisurely European lifestyle that revels in and showcases the finer things of life…The resort is ideal for a romantic getaway, whether winter or summer.”
~ The Ottawa Citizen

A Romantic Villa Rich in History

“Offering exceptional comfort and service.”

~ The New York Times

geneva on the lake pool
geneva on the lake garden
geneva on winter
geneva on the lake pool

The Consummate Getaway

Geneva On The Lake is perfect for a long weekend or midweek escape. Rest, relax and surrender yourself to gracious service and hospitality, superb food, the finest Finger Lakes wines and breathtaking surroundings.