Villa Words No.15 - Amir Abbas Aboutalebi

An Overview of the
Evolution of Villas in Italy;

“Discovering the Origins”


Villa Magazine Editorial Issue No. 15
Amir Abbas Aboutalebi


Wednesday - 15 Nov 2023

An Overview of the
Evolution of Villas in Italy;
“Discovering the Origins”

Italy’s architectural heritage encompasses a multitude of architectural types, but it is the timeless allure of villas that has left an indelible mark on the country’s cultural, literary, and artistic fabric. Villas in Italy, in dialogue with natural gardens, were crafted not only to showcase the social status of their owners but also to offer an escape from bustling urban life*, to an imaginary realm*. The impact of Italian villas extends far beyond their physical presence, permeating various facets of Italian society, including art, literature, cuisine, soccer, and even politics. For centuries, these villas have captured the imaginations of writers and become symbolic representations of luxury, leisure, and romance.

Italian pioneering architects recognized the “villa typology” as a laboratory for their innovative ideas, using its historical precedent as an experimental setting for future architectural concepts and manifestations. Andrea Palladio, for example, prioritized practical considerations in his villa designs from 1537 to 1580. This can be observed in Palladio’s villas such as Villa Godi, Villa Rotonda, Villa Barbaro, Villa Emo, Villa Foscari, and Villa Capra. These villas serve as strong evidence of Palladio’s approach. Villa Malaparte, built-in 1938 by rationalist architect Adalberto Libera in Punta Massullo on the Isle of Capri, is considered as one of the finest examples of modern Italian architecture. In 1963, during the Magistretti-the-builder wave, Gio Ponti shared his perspective on what to expect from villas:
“The ‘constant’, to always design a house, a residence, not a villa. Villa (and villino now more than ever) is a word that has fallen off the glorious rank it used to have in architecture, and in theater narrative, and in the bygone custom of villeggiare). (…) Today it is better to say and to think casa (house); a residence. Magistretti will always build you a house: a beautiful house.”*
Ponti manifested his theories through his remarkable villas, such as Villa Planchart, Villa Arreaza in Caracas, and the masterpiece Villa Namazee, built in the early 1960’s in Tehran-Iran. These villas are not only recognized as cultural heritage sites but also symbolize modernity. Similarly, the important villas by Carlo Scarpa and Aldo Rossi in the 1970’s have left a significant mark.

Today, the essence of villas by contemporary Italian architects continues to shape the architectural landscape within Italy and across the globe. The tradition of villas has often included a return to experiencing the pioneer spirit who view this type of architecture as testing grounds for new ideas or the crystallization of future concepts and theories. The contemporary villas in Italy showcased in this issue can be regarded as experimental projects that provide the opportunity to study a technical or functional aspect in concrete terms or to develop spatial ideas.

In the following four pages, I present “Villas in Italy Chronology”* titled “Discovering the Origins.” This chronology offers a comprehensive timeline and historical record of the development and evolution of villas in Italy. It traces the progression of architectural styles and noteworthy villa examples across different periods in Italian history. The chronology highlights significant villas in Italy, influential Italian architects, and key architectural manifestations that define the Italian architectural landscape. It provides a comprehensive overview of the evolution of villa architecture in Italy, inviting professionals and scholars to delve into the enduring source of inspiration offered by the utopian quality of Italian villas.

* Negotium
* Otium
* (Una casa di Magistretti, in collina, Domus 409, December 1963)
* (Pages 5,6,7,8)



Villas in Italy
Villas in Italy 2500 BC - 1900 AC


Villas in Italy
Villas in Italy 1900 AC - 2000 AC

(Giuseppe Terragni,Casa sul lago per un artista, Milan, Italy, 1933), (Pietro Lingeri, Houses for artists (Case per artisti), Isola Comacina, Como, Italy, 1933), (Angelo Invernizzi,Villa Girasole, Marcellise, Italy, 1935), (Franco Albini, A room for a man (Stanza per un uomo),Milan, Italy, 1936), (Bernard Rudofsky & Luigi Cosenza, Villa Oro, Posillipo, Naples, Italy,1934-1937), (Giuseppe Terragni, Villa Amedeo Bianchi (Villa del floricoltore), Rebbio, Italy, 1936-37), (Piero Bottoni & Mario Pucci, Villa Muggia, Imola, Bologna, Italy, 1936-38), (Giulio Minoletti, Weekend house for a bachelor (Casa per il fine settimana per uno scapolo), Fiumelatte, Varenna, Lecco, Italy, 1941-45), (Curzio Malaparte & Adalberto Libera, Villa Malaparte, Capri, Italy, 1943), (Bottoni, Piero, Casetta nella pineta (Bottoni Weekend House), Ronchi, Marina di Massa, Italy,1945), (Giuseppe (Pino) Pizzigoni, Minimal House (Casa Minima), Lazzaretto, Bergamo, Italy, 1946), (Angelo Masieri,Casa Giacomuzzi-Moore,Udine, Italy, 1949), (Gino Valle, Foghini House, S. Giorgio di Nogaro, Italy, 1952-53), (Mario De Renzi,House on the sea (Casa sul mare),Sperlonga, Latina, Italy, 1952-54), (Carlo Mollino, Luigi Cattaneo house (Villa K2) (Casa sull’altipiano), Agra, Italy, 1952-1953), (Gino Valle, Casa Quaglia, Sutrio, Udine, Italy, 1954), (Enzo Venturelli, House and Atelier for Umberto Mastroianni, Cavoretto, Torino, Italy, 1955), (Gio Ponti, Villa Planchart, Miranda, Venezuela, 1955), (Davide Pacanowski,Villa Crespi, Posillipo, Napoli, Italy, 1955), (Luigi Moretti, Villa La Saracena, Santa Marinella, Italy, 1957), (Gio Ponti, Villa Namazi, Tehran, Iran, 1957), (Vittoriano Viganò, Casa “La Scala” for André Bloc, Portese del Garda, Italy,1955-58), (Claudio Vender (Asnago Vender), Villa Conti, Barlassina, Monza e Brianza, Italy, 1959), (Aldo Rossi & Leonardo Ferrari, Villa in Ronchi, Massa, Ronchi, Italy, 1960), (Giorgio Grassi,House on a lake, Velo di Marone, Lago d'Iseo, Italy, 1962), (Marco Zanuso ,Arzale Vacation Houses, Arzachena, Olbia-Tempio, Sardinia, Italy, 1962-64), (Giovanni Leo Salvotti, Galina Salvotti House, Calceranica al Lago, Trento, Italy, 1963), (Pino Pizzigoni, Claudio Nani House, Parre, Bergamo, Italy, 1964), (Gino Valle, Manzano House (Casa Rossa), Udine, Italy, 1965-66), (Cini Boeri, Bunker House, Abbatoggia, La Maddalena, Sassari, Italy, 1966-67), (Giancarlo De Carlo, Ca’ Romanino, Urbino, Italy, 1967), (Carlo Scarpa & Sergio Los, Gianni Tabarelli de Fatis House, Cornaiano, Trentino-Alto Adige, Italy, 1968), (Giuseppe Perugini, Raynaldo Perugini and Uga de Plaisant,Casa Sperimentale, Fregene, Rome, Italy, 1968-1971), (Cini Boeri, House in the Woods, Osmate, Varese, Italy, 1969), (Alberto Ponis, House Hartley, Costa Paradiso, Sardinia, Italy, 1970), (Carlo Graffi, Villa GONTERO’, Cumiana near Turin, Italy, 1969-71), (Renzo Piano & Richard Rogers, Four Free-Plan Houses, Cusago, Italy, 1970-1974), (Umberto Riva, Summerhouses (Case di Palma), Stintino, Sardinia, Italy,1970-72), (Dante Bini, Villa for Michelangelo Antonioni and Monica Vitti, Costa Paradiso, Sardegna, Italy, 1972), (Pasquale Culotta & Giuseppe Leone, Salem House, Cefalù, Palermo, Italy, 1972), (Studio PER (Tusquets Blanca, Oscar & Clotet, Lluis), Vittoria Tracino House, Cala Tramontana, Pantelleria Island, Sicily, Italy,1972-73), (Aldo. Rossi, Villa in Borgo Ticino (Pavilion), 1973), (Costantino Dardi, G. Morabito, A. Zattera, Vila Fregene, Fregene, Rome, Italy,1974), (Superstudio, Casa Volpini, Urbino, Italy, 1975), (Andrea Bruno ,House & Studio for Enzio Gribaudo, Torino, Italy,1976), (Carlo Scarpa, Ottolenghi House, Bardolino, Verona, Italy, 1974-79), (Aldo Rossi, Villa for Alessandra and Stefano Alessi, Suna di Verbania, Italy, 1989-94), (Umberto Riva, Salvatore Miggiano House, Otranto, Lecce, Italy, 1989-96), (Sottsass Associati (Ettore Sottsass jr, Mike Ryan, Matteo Thun), Cei House, Villanuova, Empoli, Italy, 1990-93).




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