When Government House was completed in 1876, it was called the grandest house in Australia. Built in Italianate style, its tower can be seen for miles. Government House is next to the Royal Botanic Gardens within the Kings Domain. It was the largest governor's residence in the former British Empire, and similar in design to Queen Victoria's palatial Osborne House on the Isle of Wight. The contrast between Government House and the modest cottage of the first Governor, Charles Joseph La Trobe, can be seen by taking a joint tour of both properties, providing a tangible link between the city’s early colonial days and Marvellous Melbourne of the 1880s. The tour takes you to the grand Ballroom, State Dining Room and Billiard Room in Government House, then heads ‘below stairs’ to visit significant outbuildings including the 19th-century kitchen and Hopetoun Stables.