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VILLA GIULIA AND THE SPIRIT OF THE WATER

 

Genius Loci, 50 masterpieces of the Museum of Landscape by the lake

The spirit of the lake, its natural and supernatural essence, you can grasp it by admiring the eclectic architecture of Villa Giulia along the Verbania-Pallanza lakeside and by taking a stroll inside the halls which this summer, until September 7, will display the beautiful exhibition befittingly entitled “Genius Loci”.
 
What an incredible country Italy is. Every corner hides priceless and often forgotten treasures, neglected if not deteriorated. This is certainly not the case with Villa Giulia, an authentic wonder for the eyes and soul, which this summer is hosting 50 masterpieces originating from the Museum of Landscape, the location of which in the Viani Dugnani a Pallanza building is unusable for now.
The exterior of the villa has two facades: on the one side, the one facing the street which today is luckily partially a bicycle and pedestrian area, it has an impressive and Renaissance style; on the other, with a lake view, it exposes columns with a Hellenistic tone and on the top floor there is an exedra that softens the profile of the building even more.
Just go out into terrace situated right under the exedra in order to understand, at least partially, the spirit of the lake which reaches the highest levels here. Your gaze will sweep from the Borromeo Gulf to the peaks reaching four thousand meters, and your breath will naturally deepen.
The villa was designed by the Milan architect Giuseppe Pirovano, called in 1882 by Giuseppe Branca, precisely him the one of Fernet, to transform the holiday home in a sumptuous villa to be dedicated to his wife Giulia. Today this home, full of charm, hosts the exhibition befittingly entitled “Genius Loci”, a sequence of masterpieces that fully expresses the magic that the spirit of the “Lake area” infused in artists throughout the centuries, through the beauty of the landscape, inspiring them to create extraordinary works that to this day are deservingly part of the precious Italian cultural heritage.
In the wide and bright halls there are alternated paintings by Litta and Ferraguti, moving onto the disheveled Ranzoni, the realist Achille Tominetti, until reaching the great sculptor Arturo Martini. The exhibition, an authentic opportunity to visit Pallanza and the surrounding area, doesn’t just offer high impact paintings and sculptures, but it also tells of the stories and passions of men and women who lived here or moved leaving an indelible mark. Such is the case with the sculptor Paolo Troubetzkoy, a prince of Russian origin that transforms the Verbano into his art studio. The plasters and bronzes that can be admired in some of the halls reveal a cultured man, a refined representative of the Belle époque who during his lifetime had the honour of “sculpting” none other than the great Lev Tolstoj.
The painter Federico Ashton also lived in these areas, choosing Domodossola as his residence in order to better depict the beloved mountains. A love which would eventually cost the excellent painter of alpine views his life, causing him to fall into a ravine nearby the Sempione pass. Another figure with a life out of a romance novel is Sophie Brown, who was chosen with her “Eva” as the icon of the entire exhibition. Born in Dublin, the daughter of diplomats, she moved to her grandfather’s chalet at the peak of the “Castagnola” to take painting lessons by Arnaldo Ferraguti. She married the marquis Silvio della Valle di Cassanova and together they created the Villa San Remigio with the adjoining Italian style garden, with the many esoteric references. Out of the many artists that passed through here there was also Umberto Boccioni, who created a portrait of the maestro Busoni precisely in this villa, just before leaving for the front only to never return.
The parade of artists and masterpieces continues from hall to hall: there’s Eugenio Gignous, another painter able to portray on the canvas the splendor of the Ossolan landscapes; there are the geometric shapes of Mario Tozzi and Siro Penagini, the stylized faces of Adriana Bisi Fabbri, and the sculptures of Arturo Martini. In addition to being a pleasure for the eyes, the exhibition is also a voyage interweaving between the beautiful landscapes of Verbano, Cusio and Ossola, and the lives of famous artists between the Nineteenth and Twentieth Century.
Therefore, Genius Loci is a journey that must be seen not just purely for its aesthetic pleasure, but also to discover the history and geography of these lands at the foot of the Alps, magically safeguarded inside a villa which alone is worth the price of the ticket.
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Ecrit par
Grand Hotel Majestic, Rédaction