Villa Grock in Imperia
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via Fanny Roncati Carli - 18100 Imperia (IM)
Telefono: 0183 70 42 11
Villa Grock (Archivio fotografico Provincia di Imperia) Villa Grock (Archivio fotografico Provincia di Imperia) Villa Grock (Archivio fotografico Provincia di Imperia) Villa Grock (Archivio fotografico Provincia di Imperia) Villa Grock (Archivio fotografico Provincia di Imperia) Villa Grock (Archivio fotografico Provincia di Imperia) Villa Grock (Archivio fotografico Provincia di Imperia) Villa Grock (Archivio fotografico Provincia di Imperia) Villa Grock (Archivio fotografico Provincia di Imperia) Villa Grock (Archivio fotografico Provincia di Imperia) Villa Grock (Archivio fotografico Provincia di Imperia) Villa Grock (Archivio fotografico Provincia di Imperia) Villa Grock (Archivio fotografico Provincia di Imperia) Villa Grock (Archivio fotografico Provincia di Imperia)

The most surprising things in Western Liguria are Villa Grock and its park, built following the desire and project of “Grock”, the stage name of Adrien Wettach from Switzerland (Reconvilier, 1880 - Imperia 1959), a great clown who came to Imperia to relax.

The intervention, which is part of the development of the natural and cultural resources of Liguria project (Level 4 of the ROP ERDF 2007-2013), involves adaptating the structure to turn it into a museum.

A little bit of history

“Villa Grock” (Villa Bianca) is an extraordinary construction in Liberty/deco style. It was designed and built in the “Cascine”area of Imperia-Oneglia between 1921 and 1930 by Adrien Wettach from Switzerland (Reconvilier, 1880 - Imperia, 1959) alias "Grock", the greatest clown of his time.
The plans were drawn by the Genoese surveyor-engineer Armando Brignole, but the ideas were Grock’s and the building reflects a Liberty style that is excessive, mannerist and clownish, just like its designer. The style is in fact contaminated by Baroque, rococo and Liberty influences, and suggestive echoes from the East that are reinforced by exotic vegetation.

Outside the villa is the park, originally very vast (almost 11.000 square meters), which holds a lake-swimming pool with a small lowered bridge connected to a “small island” and a small temple with moulded cement columns. Grock built the villa to spend his holidays there between one tour and the next, but over time it became his permanent residence.
After Grock’s death in 1959, the Villa gradually degraded until 2002, when it was bought by the province of Imperia in order to make it a cultural pole of great importance and a circus museum. The gardens have been open to the public since May 2006, while waiting for the museum to be completed.

The intervention

The project completes a long run of recoveries and restorations made by the provincial Administration of Imperia which owns the building, with the aim of returning Villa Grock, positioned on Oneglia hill, Imperia, to the community.
The project defines the functional use of this splendid private residence with park, which belonged to the artist that most represented the circus world in the 20th century; the property suffered various incidents, abandonment and plundering, formulating the possibility that it would again become an international pole of cultural attraction.

A visitor’s route leading through the magnificent rooms of the villa will be created, and it will present all the splendours, treasures and emotions tied to the circus and, in particular, the world of clowns.

The main goal of the project is to create a Museo del Clown (Clown Museum), and involves those sections that are more difficult to rebuild, located in the highest floors of the building. In these rooms, which include the Grock family bedrooms and the guest bedrooms, visitors will be offered a cultural route, the purpose of which is to allow the visitor to “enter” the magical and fascinating world of clowns. Another project aim is to clearly detail the cultural and visiting route, the basic topic of which can be nothing other than clowning.

Museum management will, in addition, be a job opportunity for young people and women who are specialized in promoting cultural heritage, and an opportunity to increase the current free entry to the Villa garden with a fee-paying internal route, relieving the provincial Administration from many management costs after start up.

Nearby

The city of Imperia, with its new waterfront, offers many ideas for visits, like the Naval Museum and the Oil Museum. In Sanremo, in addition to the Festival della Canzone Italiana (Italian Song Festival), it is possible to visit Villa Nobel and what remains of the city that Russians and British people fell in love with at the end of the 19th century.

Oddities

In the house and its garden there are hermetic and arcane links: the constellations in the loggia at the house entrance, the candleholder, the geometric compositions of the flooring, the cornucopias, the columns, the small temple, the tower and the Ziggurat, themes that figuratively connect the house with the garden and the whole complex with the arcane culture of the commissioner.

Mappa
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