Foreword No.15

VILLA MAGAZINE ISSUE NO.15

Monograph Edition

Italian Villas Special Issue

Foreword
Giuseppe Perrone

 

Wednesday - 15 Nov 2023 

I am glad to write these few lines to introduce Villa Magazine’s special issue “Contemporary Villas in Italy. Discovering the Origins”. My appreciation goes to the magazine’s founder, CEO and editor-in-chief, Mr. Amir Abbas Aboutalebi, for his in-depth research and analysis.

The villas featured in this praiseworthy publication are rooted in a long history defined by elegance and creativity. They refer to a concept which stands today as a quintessential component of the Italian lifestyle, closely connected to the sense of national identity of the Italian people.

In ancient Rome, the idea of a single-family house built away from the ordeals of the city was very popular among the elites and it quickly captured the attention of the most respected architects. Vitruvius was one of them. He came up with the idea that all buildings should be strong, useful and beautiful. This description befitted the very attractive retreat houses in the countryside surrounded by vineyards as well as the sumptuous villas in the outskirts of Rome, the Bay of Naples, and Pompeii. 

Urban villas distinctively punctuated the landscape of the Renaissance, with the most celebrated architects, such as Bramante, Michelangelo, Palladio and Vignola, creating masterpieces of unique architectural and artistic refinement, some of which still stand today in their unparalleled beauty. Villas were built with the comforts and amenities of a city life and decorated with exquisite art pieces, such as oil paintings, tapestries, mosaic tiles, marbles and sculptures, to symbolize their owner’s social status and wealth.

In modern times “villa” has become synonymous with “Casa all’italiana”, home Italian style, as Italian prominent architect Gio’ Ponti explained in his foundational editorial for Domus magazine in 1928. This term perfectly illustrates the intimate relationship between the domestic indoor living space and the outdoor surrounding environment, which is seen as a continuation of the former. A striking example of “Casa all’italiana” can be found in Tehran’s Niavaran neighborhood. The Villa Namazee, designed by Ponti in the 1950s, stands today as a true jewel of modern architecture which embodies the main features of the concept of Italian villas as it has developed over history.

As Ponti used to say, “in the Italian home, there is no big distinction between outdoors and indoors. With us, the outside architecture penetrates the inside and does not avoid using stone, plaster and murals. […] From inside, the Italian home reaches out to the open with porticoes, terraces, pergolas and verandas, with loggias and balconies, with altane (roof decks) and belvederes, all extremely comfortable inventions for serene living and so Italian as to be called in every language by the names they have here.”

No better description than this one can encapsulate the essence of Italian villas. The examples illustrated in this publication fully show the continuity and vitality of Italian villa design. Their collection and listing by the Italian Villas Special Issue is a generous and informed undertaking for which I am truly grateful. I wish the readers of this special issue a pleasant journey through the beauty and charm of Italian contemporary villas.

 

 

Giuseppe Perrone
Ambassador of Italy to Tehran

 

 

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