Villa Borzino in Busalla
via XXV Aprile, 17 - 16012 Busalla (GE)
Telefono: 010 97 61 014
Fax: 010 97 60 147
Villa Borzino Villa Borzino Villa Borzino Villa Borzino

Villa Borzino is just a short distance from the station, along the road that connects Busalla with Borgo Fornari.  The villa, the construction of which began in 1919, was designed for the Hon. Emilio Borzino by architect Giuseppe Crosa of Vergagni, and was extended between 1927 and 1936.

Municipal property since 1972, it is surrounded by a park that is full of trees with avenues, wood hedges and a beautiful nymphaeum. The building, in addition to hosting numerous cultural associations, is also the headquarters of the Regional National Park of  Antola (Ente Parco Antola) and, until its elimination, of the Association of Alta Valle Scrivia Municipalities (Comunità montana Alta Valle Scrivia).

The building is surrounded by a large park, today partly reduced by parcelling that dates back to the 1970s. The higher part of the park today has taken on a prevalently natural aspect while in the area between the entrance and the villa the original layout of roads with hedges still remains. Pedestrians can enter the complex through a splendid grotto with nymphs that are decorated with a mosaic of precious stones, shells, coral, glass tesserae, and a perfect copy of the nymph in Villa Sauli in Genoa.

Inside there are more than fifty rooms, from the basement where the kitchens, laundry and cellars were located, to the ground floor, with the large dining room, the study, library and various rooms for guests, and an elegant oval-shaped environment was created inside the tower. 

The internal furnishings, designed by the same architect, are beautiful. On the ground and first floors, the splendid inlaid marble and Genoese granolithic and mosaic floors, the doors and door and window fittings, the slate and marble fireplaces, the decorations with painted trompe l’oeil, those of plaster and wood, the stairwell with a complex beaten iron railing, some pieces of furniture, the bathrooms with hand-painted tiles and furnished with pottery that is still integral and the splendid, perfectly intact study of Borzino remain, even though in need of preservation and restoration.
The second floor, originally for more functional and less representative uses, only has interesting granolithic flooring, with the only decorations appearing in the tower room.

The graphic and photographic documentation showing the intervention is today held in “The Mitchell Wolfson jr. Collection” in Genoa, where Architect Crosa's archive is deposited.

A little bit of history

The villa, the summer holiday home of the Borzino family, is a traditional 16th century Genoese villa, with two lateral avant-corps, a double stairway for entry, and a loggia on the first floor, marble balustrades, a powerful cornice and a decorated façade, which is divided into decorative elements.
The tower rises above the main façade, with the last floor protruding on brackets.

The northern side of the first floor was initially connected to the garden at the same level by an arch-shaped balcony between the entry driveway and the court yard; the balcony, which contained mosaic niches, was demolished, but its restructuring has already been programmed.

Emilio Borzino who commissioned the work, a prominent personality in Genoese economic and political circles, insurer and spokesman of the Italian Liberal Party.
Giuseppe Crosa from Vergagni was in charge of the design and careful management of the work, and he transformed and enlarged the pre-existing building into its current 16th century Genoese style.

The intervention

The large park today is in a state of abandon, which is more evident in the area down from the Renaissance Revival nymph.
The chestnut wood shows the signs of decades of decline and the nature trails that go through it risk being lost in the vegetation that is inevitably running wild.

Thanks to the Development of the natural and cultural resources of Liguria project (Level 4 of the ROP ERDF 2007-2013), it was possible to intervene not just on the outdoor area but also inside the building, working on the preservation and recovery problems that are present.

Intervention on the park has not altered the forest floor, making it possible to interpret the asset in an alternative and completely reversible way, and to manage and carry out maintenance on the forest heritage, even regarding safety for its users, at the same time.

The project regarding the building includes preservation and restoration of the guest floors with a philological attitude.
In second place, the modifications on the current structure were carried out programming their total reversibility.

The lift was positioned by identifying the most suitable position for generating the smallest impact possible on the horizontal surfaces and the volumes.
The asbestos roofing was replaced with completely recyclable synthetic slate.


The Castle della Pietra in Vobbia, just a short distance from Busalla and wedged into the conglomerate, is well worth a visit.
It was built around the year 1000 by the Bishops of Tortona, maybe to protect from the Muslims, as a garrison on the road that connects Vobbia with Isola del Cantone, namely the Via del Sale (the Salt Road) that led to to Via Postumia in Valle Scrivia.

The town of Vobbia arose as a business point along Via dei Feudi Imperiali (Via del Sale) which from Genoa led to the cities on the Paduan Plain.

The Castle was subsequently owned by the Marquises of Gavi (1050), then the Malaspina family, and in 1252 it became the property of Opizzone della Pietra, whose nickname derives from this fief.
It is known for certain that Opizzone was also the only feudatory to live in the castle, because it was usually lived in by privileged lords and their families who were at the service of the feudatories.

Until 1565 the castle remained the property of the Opizzone heirs, and then it passed to the Botta Adorno family until 1797 (the year in which Ligurian Imperial Fiefs were abolished). It seems to have been burnt by Napoleon's troops, and its five cannons were melted to make the bells of the Crocefieschi church.

In 1882 it passed from the heirs of Botta Adorno to the Cusani Visconti family which, in 1919, violated an antique ban and ceded the castle to the Beroldo family. In 1979 this same Beroldo donated the castle to the Municipality of Vobbia.

At the end of the Seventies the Province of Genoa, together with the Municipality of Vobbia, the Historical Studies Centre for the Alta Valle Scrivia and its nearby areas, the Office for the Archaeological Heritage of Liguria and some volunteers, started a renovation project that will last ten years and thanks to which today the inside of this structure can be visited.


In June of each year, Busalla holds the Festival dedicated to ‘rose da sciroppo’ (literally roses for syrup), which are typical of the territory. The programme, full and interesting, presents all types of rose over two days, with the intervention of botanists, psychotherapists and food experts who speak about roses from natural, symbolic and culinary points of view.

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