Villa Fogazzaro Roi
Bequest: Marchese Giuseppe Roi, May 2009
The Villa is open from mid-March to October only with guided tour.
From Wednesday 29 June to Sunday 2 October
Open every day from Wednesday to Sunday: 10am - 6pm
First entry: 11am - Last entry: 4.45pm
Maximum group size: 15 people - Tours: 45 minutes
Entry: only for FAI Members or FAI Friends (possibility to subscribe at the Villa)
The Little World of the Past
Looking out across the Italian shore of Lake Lugano, Villa Fogazzaro Roi is the inspiring, peaceful place in which Antonio Fogazzaro spent long periods of his life. The villa is still highly evocative of the descriptions given in Fogazzaro's novel, The Little World of the Past. It is in these rooms, amid the mountainsides of the Valsolda, that the characters live their lives: from the little terrace transformed by the main character Franco Maironi into the "lyrical poetry of the home", to the small garden with its sweet osmanthus, which "encapsulated in a corner the power of gentle things on the warm, impetuous spirit of the poet"; and from the narrow gallery that "they called a loggia, perhaps because that's what it had once been", to the harbour, where little Ombretta tragically dies. In the 19th-century, the villa was owned by the Barrera family, of which Teresa, the author's mother, was a member. The villa was constructed over an existing building dating from the 16th century, and to this day it retains the original garden.
The residence displays numerous typically 19th-century touches, both in its overall style and in the rather reduced proportions of the rooms. The small scale of the rooms is probably due also to the position of the building, which is sited near the slope that leads down towards the lake. Still very much in place – although now comprehensively restored – are the decorated fresco motifs of the Loggia and the Drawing Room, which feature medallions and organic spirals that can be dated to the early 19th century. Works carried out in the 1950s and '60s by the last owner Giuseppe Roi (Fogazzaro's great grandson) saw the first and second floors being altered to house new bathrooms and bedrooms, in order to allow numerous guests to be accommodated.
The internal arrangement of the Villa as it stands today is also the result of the refined and painstaking work of Roi, who expanded the original set of pieces (such as those on show in Fogazzaro's bedroom and study) with the addition of furniture and objets d'art from other homes inhabited by the author and his family, while also completing the existing collections with new pieces bought on the open market.
The traces of Fogazzaro
Thanks to the commitment of Giuseppe Roi, everything left behind by the author has been safeguarded and put in the best possible light, from his personal pieces (including, for example, his cufflinks) to the manuscript of Miranda and the terrace table at which he was photographed with his son Mariano, who died of typhus at a young age. It is to his son that Fogazzaro dedicated the engraving in the drawer of the writing desk in his study: "Mariano, Mariano, my Mariano! All vanity and passion aside, I gather my heart in God and in you".