Liberty: the Art Nouveau style in Italy
In Italy the name "liberty" derives from that of the warehouses founded in London in 1875 by A. Lasenby Liberty, specialized in the sale of products from the Far East.
The Art Nouveau artists preferred Nature as a source of inspiration but evidently stylized its elements and expanded this repertoire with the addition of algae, blades of grass, insects.
The liberty, therefore, found its greatest success in architecture, leaving posterity one of the most lasting testimonies. The artistic current of Liberty will dissolve with the beginning of the First World War but many Italian cities, including Rome, will retain the architectural apparatus of many palaces and villas to keep intact the historical memory of the period of the Bella Époque.
Roma according to D'Annunzio: a preview of Art Nouveau
With these words Gabriele D'Annunzio, poet, playwright, one of the greatest writers of the Italian twentieth century symbol of Decadentism, speaks of Rome in his novel Il Piacere: “Rome was his great love: not the Rome of the Caesars, but the Rome of the Popes; not the Rome of the Arches, of the Baths, of the Forums, but the Rome of the Villas, Fountains and Churches. He would have given the whole Colosseum for the Villa Medici, the Campo Vaccino for the Spanish Steps, the Arch of Titus for the Fontanella delle Tartarughe. The princely magnificence of the Colonna, Doria, Barberini attracted much more than the ruined imperial grandeur." (G. D'Annunzio, Il Piacere, 1888).
This is the beginning of the famous novel "Il Piacere". We are in the rooms of Palazzo Zuccari, at the beginning of via Gregoriana, just after crossing the Spanish Steps, climbing the steps of Trinità de’ Monti, whose clock is striking three-thirty. Elena Muti is about to arrive, the beautiful woman with whom Andrea had had a stormy relationship that had suddenly stopped two years earlier. Now she, who is married to an English lord and lives abroad, is about to reach the old lover, who awaits her in a scenario that is the quintessence of the taste of liberty, the decò, which sometimes ends up becoming truly Kitsh here is the juniper wood that burns in the fireplace, the brocatelle curtains with a flowery texture, exquisitely made teacups decorated with mythological figures and a great profusion of fragrant flowers inside crystal cups, leaves, petals, "A big rose white, which gradually disintegrated, languid, soft with something feminine”.
Art Nouveau in Rome: Coppedè district
If the Rome celebrated by D'Annunzio is the best known and renowned for its most famous and iconic monuments: the Colosseum, the Imperial Forums, St. Peter's Square, the Circus Maximus, the Baths of Caracalla, at the turn of the late nineteenth and the first decades of the twentieth century, the Art Nouveau district of the capital was designed by a group of architects among which the figure of Gino Coppedè will emerge. It is a novelty, a provocation with a classic taste, the Art Nouveau district of Rome in the Nomentano district, although remodeled in the following years, retains the rebellious soul of the designers which is still visible through the eclectic decorative apparatus, the stylistic features linked to the mythology, esotericism, symbolism, mystery but also irony and provocation to continue living a dream even in adulthood.
The Gino Coppedè neighborhood, the work of the architect of the same name, enjoys a central core and a series of buildings that radially depart from Piazza Mincio. Between Piazza Buenos Aires and via Tagliamento, the neighborhood has 26 buildings and 17 villas, all built between 1916 and 1927. Designed for a middle class, it soon became an elegant neighborhood. On the facades of the buildings you can read the Greek influences in the friezes, Assyrian-Babylonian in the masks, medieval in the turreted façades and in the dreamlike scenarios of monstrous or fantastic shapes, up to the more complex references of art nouveau (or liberty) in the references to Floreal patterns. An extravagant explosion of shapes, geometers and colors from the fantastic and allegorical world. On Piazza Mincio, the Fontana delle Rane is a real milestone for the Beatles fans, who after a concert at the Piper disco took a bath in clothes. The Villino delle Fate, immersed in an exotic garden, is a fairytale house for the anthropomorphic figures of cherubs and garlands, falconers with their hawks, nuns and monks, as well as mythological and zodiacal animals. For the surreal and disturbing dimension of some glimpses, this neighborhood was set of more than one film, including those of the horror director Dario Argento who shot Inferno and The Bird with Crystal Feathers.
Villa Paganini B&B: stay in a Roman villa in the Art Noveau district of Rome
It seem s that most of the inhabitants of Rome have never been there or that they are not even aware of its existence. But during a holiday in the capital, between the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain and St. Peter's Square, it would be good to leave a small space for the Coppedè District. The proximity to the park of Villa Paganini makes it a stop not to be missed. This is the most daring artistic-architectural experiment ever undertaken in Rome, if not in the whole of Italy: here Liberty, neo-Gothic, kitsch, baroque and modernism merge.
In this context that combines art with an architecture out of the ordinary for originality and aesthetics, the B&B Villa Paganini was born. The latter proposes a stay in a single-family villa of the late 1800s, inserted in a prestigious residential area, in a maze of streets, gardens and Art Nouveau villas that create an unexpected island in the center of Rome. The cottage is surrounded by a large equipped garden, where during the summer it is possible to have breakfast, sunbathe, read and rest.
The B&B takes its name from the adjoining Villa Paganini, and enhances the memory path of the most important villas of the Capitoline city, giving the rooms the names of Pamphili, Borghese and Torlonia.
The structure, which has just been restored, has three superior category rooms, finished in every detail, furnished with class and elegance, equipped with en suite bathroom, hair dryer, safe, adjustable air conditioning, plasma TV, satellite, soundproof windows; respects the standards imposed to ensure high level hospitality and no surprises in the Bed and Breakfast formula. The three bedrooms of B&B Villa Paganini, spacious and elegant, maintain the beauty of the nineteenth-century architecture of the past, with their high vaulted ceilings and warm parquet floors.
Guests, at any time of the day, can enjoy a coffee or tea, a free set at their disposal. The villas and gardens adjacent to the B&B allow you to enjoy a pleasant jog.
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