IMG_0377Villa Silvio Pellico is  the name of a charming historical estate, formerly owned by the Marquess of Barolo and mostly used in summertime as a leisure lodge.  The main house (along with two separate square buildings for the staff, linked to the Villa by way of covered portici and terraces marked with marble statues and stone vases) has been rebuilt at the end of the XVIIIth century in accordance with the neoclassic then fashionable style and the interiors were fitted consistently with the aesthetic taste of the time.  Neoclassic decoration and furniture does not affect the coziness of the interiors, so that the house is perfectly livable in modern days. Around 1810 the Marchioness added a new wing in the early neogothic style, encompassing a church and a small square building imitating a stony old medieval castle (the neogothic additions, especially the church with its blending of older artifacts and sculptures,  appear to be the first of their time in Piedmont, possibly the work of an English architect); another building was added at the end of the XIXth century at the entrance of the estate  where the main iron gate was placed.

[due foto casa]
[history: scansione stampa vecchia]

Slider_3HISTORY: The Villa and the estate was originally a “vigna” (literally a “vineyard”, though rather intended in the old times as a “gentilhommière de plaisance”), a refuge from the heat of the Turin summer. The owners of the place were until the end of the XIXth century, the Marquesses of Barolo, one of the most prominent and affluent families of the small Savoy Dukedom, later Kingdom of Sardinia and then of Italy. The elder son of Marquess Barolo, during the Napoleon’s reign over Piedmont, married (possibly to please the new Emperor) a French girl, Julie Colbert, a scion of the famed Ministry of Finance of Louis XIV. The young Marchioness turned out to be a cultivated and enlightened lady, much in advance of her time. She entertained strong relations with most of the rulers of the Italian States before the Kingdom of Italy was created, namely King Carlo Alberto and the Popes in Rome, and succeeded in promoting new laws aimed at improving the conditions in the Kingdom jails, at providing a shelter and an education to the orphans and a recognition of the women working and social status. She founded a charitable foundation, still operating in Piedmont and an order of missionary nuns. The  Marchioness of Barolo used to spend in the Villa two or three months each year until her death occurred in the 1850s: she hired the famous Italian patriot and writer Silvio Pellico as her personal secretary, certainly unaware that Pellico’s fame fifty years later would have shadowed her own to the point that the new owner (the wealthy Baron Milius) renamed the Villa after Pellico’s name at the end of the XIXth century.
The estate, upon the Marchioness death, became an orphanage under the patronage of the Barolo Foundation until it was resolved that the Villa should return to its original destination and it was then sold to an affluent banker and industrialist, the bachelor Baron Milius, who loved the place, restored the gardens and spent here some time in the summer until his death at the beginning of XXth century. The Baron, a worshipper of the late Marchioness, bequeathed  the estate to the Barolo
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Foundation and again the latter resolved to sell it to private users. Between 1920 and 1948 the estate fell in decay, changing several owners, mostly  attracted by the woods and the exploitation of the surrounding land (part of it having actually been sold after the Second World War). In 1948 a young divorced heiress, wishing to set down near Turin with her children, bought the neglected place and saved it from ruin.