Villa Antonietta

Villa Antonietta is a stately home located in via Corsica, 21, in the Imperial Rome district, in the municipality of Forte dei Marmi.

The “Imperial Rome” district in Forte dei Marmi dates back to the 1930s, consisting of a group of villas built at the time of the Empire, “a privileged corner, a maze of small streets all the same, an alleged empyrean” [1]. Its creation corresponds to the idea that was forming in the Italian bourgeoisie regarding the way to spend the holidays: no longer, or only, in large fashionable hotels but in villas of their own and built for this purpose.

The building stands within an almost square lot (50 x 55 m.), on the corner between two streets of the neighborhood’s urban layout, designed by Eng. prof. Aldo Castelfranco drawn up in 1936, and up to now it is almost in conformity with the original forms.

The villa is seen by critics as an example of that “Mediterranean rationalism” to which Castelfranco had adhered and which manifests itself here in particular “in the asymmetrical layout, in the smooth surfaces of the white walls, in the angular solution, in the motif of the bow- window, in the continuous windows”. The Mediterranean spirit is instead given by the completely decorative use of “organic materials”, such as terracotta and wood, with which “the rigid composure of the architecture is attenuated, making the juxtaposition with the green of the pine forest more fluid and natural of the garden”. With this type of expedient “the general aspect of the villa, one of the few remaining to have kept its original aspect, is mitigated, more bourgeois, almost a quotation from Mallet – Stevens”.

The driveway marks the perfect diagonal of the square of the lot, penetrating the house and signaling the entrance, which is also emphasized by the staircase and the continuous balcony. The entire volume is fluidly articulated without offering the possibility of finding a main facade. The lines break several times, bend, become balconies, bend again; the external envelope forms a volume that becomes smooth plaster (today however finished with spray), slender terracotta pillars and window sills, continuous glazing, half-timbered wood.

Outside, in the large garden that surrounds the villa, there is a wooden gazebo designed by Castelfranco inspired by oriental pagodas with wicker chairs with a metal structure also from the Ottolenghi Wedeking villa, and finally a fountain – sculpture with four compartments on a square painted concrete pillar – by futurist Ernesto Michahelles In honor of Taylard.

The organization of the interior spaces has in the stairwell the generating element which determines a space on the ground floor now used as a dining room, but originally a secondary entrance to the house. In the curved part of this floor there is a French door and, at landing height, a glass window similar to the opening on the ground floor. The rounded shape of the stairwell and secondary entrance corresponds to a cylindrical volume on the façade enriched by an external marble staircase with a curved iron tube railing and a particular semi-elliptical iron and glass canopy. Together with the rounded frames, existing in all the elevations, these elements give a strong late-deco taste to all this avant-corps.

The living room on the ground floor and the stairwell-dining room are separated by a large multi-leaf glass door which, if opened, allows the living room to expand and the large rounded shape of the living room to relate to the other in the dining area . On the ground floor, to the right of the stairs, a guest suite has been provided consisting of a very large bedroom, a bathroom and a hallway. The entire portion of the existing building on the ground floor, to the right of the stairs, is intended for service areas and for servants. These are rooms organized around a corridor, open to the outside, and consist of a kitchen, a double bedroom and a single bedroom, a small bathroom with shower and a dining room.

Kitchen and dining room have been recently restored with great attention to the original project by Pietro Pescarolo.

All the floors on the ground floor are in colored cement tiles and cm fine grit. 20×20, produced by the Tessieri company of Lucca, excluding the service areas which have (except for the small dining room) a cast-in-place seminato floor. On the first floor, the stairs lead to a rather large hallway organized like a real room. To the right, another hallway distributes two very large bedrooms and a bathroom. Currently one of these two rooms is used as a study. In the other portion of the first floor, completely similar to the corresponding part below, a bedroom has been created in the room with the curved wall, perhaps originally a study. A balcony with a wooden trellis parapet marks the entire curved part of the perimeter wall. We still find, here on the first floor, the grit floors produced by the Tessieri company, except in the study where a mat carpet has been applied.

Over time, most of the original furnishings have been lost, but some sofas and armchairs, the fireplace and the bookcase built into the wall of the living room, the furniture in the dining room including the wooden and glass door between the dining room and living room, and some glass and brass lamps. Contemporary objects to the villa were later purchased on the antiques market in order to keep the spirit and taste of this work alive.

In the living room, the sofas were taken from the existing model, the table in woven rope is by Traslucido (Florence), the console in beige leather is by Guglielmo Ulrich, the bookcase comes from the auction of Villa Ottolenghi Wedeking in Acqui Terme, on the walls a landscape by Raffaele De Grada from 1936 and a moire silk panel by Acquaviva. The dining room, in addition to the furniture designed by Castelfranco, has candlesticks by Ulrich and a cup by Zaccagnini.

On the upper floor there is a piece of furniture with inlays by Giò Ponti, a radio cabinet by Insa Radio, a chandelier, one of Cappellin’s last works before the closure of his furnace, and a needlepoint tapestry by Herta Ottolenghi Wedeking, in the study . Elsewhere: a model of the cruiser Zara by Paolo Cavalletti from 1931, a toilet perhaps by Tempestini, chairs by Breuer, a toilet designed by the Florentine architect Gherardo Bosio for Traslucido in Florence, paintings by Andy Warhol.