I saw the film “I Am Love” when it came out in 2009. And though I appreciated—dare I say “loved”—the visual style of it, the movie itself left me a little cold. And yet…and yet…there was something about it that has stayed with me since. The fact is that the film, even as it struggles to tell an unlikely love story between a man and a woman (played by Tilda Swinton), is itself a love letter to the city of Milan and, most passionately, to one architectural site in particular, the Villa Necchi Campiglio. I’ve always wanted to see the Villa, and this past weekend, I finally did.
If you are ever in Milan, you must go see it (Via Mozart 14). It is the most unusual combination of styles and feelings. It is elegant, grand, and spacious, while at the same time, cozy, lived-in and inviting. It fascinates rather than intimidates. And it all happens against a backdrop of rationalism, art deco, and “random (decorative) acts” of classicism and antiquity. The structure is calming, as opposed to cold. And the place is flooded with the most stunning light and quiet…right here, in the middle of the city.
Most touching perhaps is the degree to which the house yearns to tell its story. Every corner feels like a life lived. And in true Italian fashion, it is spectacularly open for your exploration. There are the occasional velvet cords to prevent passage, but surprisingly few, and not once did I see or hear the words “do not touch.” Nothing shines with renovation or replacement. Instead, it all languishes a bit in the passage of time. Chairs seem to have been recently sat upon. And books breathe quietly on the shelves waiting.
A google of the property will show you many more images than I have here. But I was taken with smaller details, as opposed to spaces, and that’s what I’ve tried to share with you here.
I called that movie 2 prawns and a bonk and failed to see any real attraction between the 2 people…but the setting was fabulous.
Yep. Agree totally!
The pictures convey the notion that the occupants of the house had just been in those places that you photograph mere moments before your camera arrived. Amazing. And thanks.
Yes, it did feel that way…there were chairs that looked like their cushions still had “bottom-dents” in them.
The photos of the china, linens ( reminded me immediately of my mom) and the paintings appealed the most to me. The soft gold and greens of the furnishings mixed with the marble flooring are lovely. It seems like a peaceful sancturary.
They remind me of my grandmother…those things are so precious, aren’t they? If not as materials, then as memories.
Beautiful… and yet such a strange combination of styles..
I do love how you have looked to the details of this beautifully dressed interior, of course I covet the linen and that crockery is just breathtaking.. If fact i imagine it is a house you would return to when you could, it does have the feel of a loved home as opposed to a mansion on show. c
Wow. It’s such an honor to have you here! I feel like you’ve traveled from your farm to Italy…I travel to your farm every day, so I suppose it’s possible. I love the linen and the crockery too. Too bad I didn’t photograph either of them as well as one might have. My grandmother had linen like that…with flowers appliquéed on them. Hand towels for the bathroom. It still amazes me that we used to wipe our grubby playing-outside-all-day hands on that needlework.
Yes, a very strange and RICH combination of styles. I think that’s the other quality that made the place feel so full of life. Clearly, things had been collected and put together according to someone’s interests…as if there was a story behind most of it. I love that.
What a warm and beautiful place. I’m sure that your stunning photographs didn’t even begin to capture the mansion,still you gave to me a feel of wonder.
Thank you so much
Linda, thanks so much! I was really frustrated…the place is beautiful, and I had only my phone…I’m heading over to your photos now…looking forward to that. Have a nice day.