VISITING THE VILLA
The Villa, a typical Alessian square based construction, was built in 1678 as the summer home for the Durazzo family and was given up to the Centurione princes in 1821. In the XIX century the house underwent various changes and the garden was made more refined with fountains and neoclassical marble statues. In 1892, for the Columbian Celebrations, the villa was temporarily transformed into Grand Hotel. Many famous people stayed there, as the Prince of Wied and The Queen of Italy. In 1919 the property was bought by Alfredo Chierichetti, to whom the final work on the garden is owed, with the addition of exotic plants, cobbled paths, statues and flower boxes. His heirs in the end sold the complex to the Town Council of Santa Margherita, in 1973.
The “Apartments of the Main Floor” are open all year round. The rooms, that are furnished with period furniture, contain a collection of paintings that includes works from the Genoese Pictorial school of the XVII and XVIII centuries, with artists such as Domenico Piola, Giovanni Andrea De Ferrari, Luciano Borzone, Giovanni Enrico Vaymer, Cornelis de Wael, Giovanni Battista Paggi.
The tour of the rooms
On the ground floor there is the Vietri Parlour, antique dining room with neoclassical style frescoes and majolica floors from the 18th century, and the Vaymer Hall that, together with its Louis XVI furnishings, contains valuable works by Gio Enrico Vaymer that portray members of the Centurione family.
Going up the slate staircase, on whose sides there are seventeenth-century paintings that portray gentlemen and noblewomen, you arrive at the first floor (piano nobile), and enter the large Hall of Celebrations, the Stuccos Hall.
The hall is distinguished by a magnificent Louis XVI style crystal chandelier and by its Genoese style polychrome marble chip floor with delicate designs that depict fig branches and leaves. After recent restoration work, the following pictorial works have been relocated inside the hall: Ritratto di gentiluomo – Portrait of a gentleman- (second quarter of the XVII century), Ritratto di dama con pappagallo – Portrait of a lady with a parrot- (Third quarter of the XVII century), Ritratto di Francesco Maria Centurione (Portrait of Francesco Maria Centurione) (second-third decade of the XVIII century), Incoronazione di Maria (The Coronation of Mary) (second half of the XVII century).
The path continues with the Venetian Room decorated with Oriental style furniture and with paintings by Luciano Borzone representing La morte di Lucrezia -The death of Lucretia – and La morte di Cleopatra – The death of Cleopatra (first half of the XVII century) and one of five fragments of a frieze that depicts Putti reggighirlande by Domenico Piola (second half of the XVII century).
Reaching the Music Parlour which is decorated with a small sitting room in Louis-Philippe style and enriched by a large Murano chandelier with Turkish glass, an Ecce Homo by Giovanni Battista Paggi can be admired.
The adjacent room, which is called Grotesque Parlour, is distinguished by a polychrome Murano glass chandelier, and by a grotesque ceilings from which the name of this room of rare beauty is taken. Among the furniture there is a wonderful console of the eighteenth century painted with lapis lazuli and egg white. The hall contains a small yet valuable collection of 17th century Genoese paintings including 4 Putti reggighirlande by Domenico Piola, Giuseppe rifiuta i doni dei Fratelli – Joseph refuses the gifts of the brothers (first half of the XVII century) by Giovanni Andrea de Ferrari as well as a work from De Wael’s studio that is entitled Musica in Giardino (Music in the Garden).
The path then leads to Loggiato Mare with its splendid views of the coast and the Port of Santa Margherita. Frescoed with allegories of the four seasons, the hall contains a small noble chapel that is entirely frescoed. Next to the chapel, on the wall, there is a mirror with wood frame decorated with floral motif (XVIII century)
The path continues with the Fireplace Parlour which is furnished with gilded Napoleon I style furniture and is distinguished by a fireplace covered with majolica tiles, on which stands out a lacquered overmantel mirror.
The tour ends at the Bedroom dedicated to Queen Margherita of Savoy, in remembrance of her visit in 1904, an epoch in which Villa Durazzo was used as a Grand Hotel.
Bellometti and V.G. Rossi collections
Near the Bellometti collection there is the reconstruction of the office of Vittorio G. Rossi, appreciated journalist and special envoy, famous travel and sea writer, born in Santa Margherita in 1898. His office, which was donated after his death to the city council, was placed in the Villa and with its mementos, it attests to his adventuresome carrier as a special correspondent. Among the displayed objects, you can admire the keepsakes of a lifetime, including those connected to his travels to the sea, objects of Haitian tradition, books of anthropological and ethnological interest, as well as photos and dedications from famous men such as Lawrence of Arabia, Nasser, Adenauer, Saragat, his friend Dino Buzzati as well as items connected to important events that he witnessed such as the moon landing and the Algerian war. Publications of his novels and magazines with his important articles are also conserved there.