Villa Vicini in Zoagli
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via Garibaldi, 20-24 - 16035 Zoagli (GE)
La villa La villa

Zoagli is a small hamlet nestling between the common boundaries of Rapallo and Chiavari in the Tigullio Gulf, approximately 38 kilometres east of Genoa.

Together with fishing, weaving silk made the fortune of the small hamlet in the past. In the 19th century, Zoagli became a prestigious tourist destination and among the important people who stayed there were poets Friedrich Nietzsche and Ezra Pound, and the painter Vasilij Kandinskij.

During the final phases of the Second World War, on the morning of 27 December 1943, the town suffered heavy bombing and was almost completely razed to the ground.

A little bit of history

On the slopes immediately to the east of the village of Zoagli, in the area above the railway station, examples of 19th century and 20th century buildings that are very interesting from a historical-artistic point of view are concentrated in a very small area.
Among them is the so-called “Villetta Vicini”, given its name because it belonged to the Vicini Family until 1997, the year in which the municipality of Zoagli inherited the noble residence when Giangiacomo Vicini, a lawyer, died.

The building, according to photographs, seems to date back to around 1910. From an architectural viewpoint it has a “Tshaped layout surrounded by a large and lush park that was left uncared for and abandoned over these last years.

With the Development of the natural and cultural resources of Liguria project (Level 4 of the ROP ERDF 2007-2013) however, Villa Vicini and in particular its park will be at the centre of a progressive development intervention that will allow the Municipality of Zoagli to use the indoor rooms for various services, among which a library, and to develop the outdoor spaces for temporary activities and various events.

The intervention

The proposed intervention aims at developing the 20th century villa by completely restoring its park, with a new garden layout that is closely connected with the internal areas of the villa and the purposes of use that the Municipality of Zoagli intends attributing to them.

Other important projects are those of eliminating the architectural barriers, positioning a new land drainage system, and a lighting system for the whole complex with LED technology that will make it possible to illuminate the façades at very low power. This will help reduce maintenance and running costs. The cobblestone mosaic (risseu), made using black and white marble stones positioned to create a simple design, will be extended; a round ornamental fountain will be made and placed in a barycentre position as to the park, the existing dry stone walls will be removed and a new retaining wall will be built.

As far as the plants in the garden are concerned, some suffering pines will have to be removed, and all the green areas in the park will be re-turfed and tidied up.

The preservation-recovery works of both the stone and the iron buildings include removing the biological coats from the perimeter handrails with columns, checking and restoring all the perimeter gratings, removing the rust, straightening the iron entrance gates, treating them against rust, painting them and checking their mechanisms.

Regarding villa renovation, the hypothesis was to upgrade the wall cladding, the door and window fittings, the eaves and the handrails of the historical building which, above all in the avant-corps of the loggia, present evident signs of decay.

All the surfaces will be cleaned and the façades will be beaten to find any loose material as a preliminary survey; they will then be reinforced and the plaster restored where missing, above all in the lower areas and inside the loggia. All the façades will then be repainted.
Internally, finally, the only interventions required are upgrading of the toilets, two on each floor, one of which is for the disabled, and the construction of a lift that will take users to the three main levels of the villa.

Nearby

A famous and well-appreciated seaside area, it is famous for its walkable reefs on the sea, made during the 1930s with the economic contribution of the citizens.
In Zoagli there are also various natural trails through woods, and visitors must try the “cinque campanili” (five bell towers) trail, which was given this name because it connects the antique hamlet churches of San Pietro di Rovereto, Semorile, San Pantaleo, and Sant’Ambrogio with the central church of San Martino over a distance of about twelve kilometres.

Oddities

Until now, Liguria is certainly the Italian region with the highest number of cobblestone mosaics, called “risseu".
This type of decoration, important and widespread between the 14th and 15th centuries, was favoured by the geological configuration of the region, which for a long time guaranteed abundant and easy access to the stones, naturally present on the beaches and gravel beds of the rivers, needed to create it.

Initially these mosaics decorated church yards, the spaces around and near religious buildings, churches, monasteries and convents, to then become a prerogative of the Genoese nobles from the 18th century, who used them to decorate their villas and private gardens. The initial black/white colours of this technique developed over time with the introduction of cobblestones of other colours, from green to grey and even red, according to the materials.

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