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CAM - Monza [ita]
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VILLA REATI (ex Paleari – ex Baldironi)

At first the building belonged to the Baldironis, later on to the Palearis, finally to the Reatis. It is divided into two buildings: one is the real residential villa, which has two floors above ground level with a cellar underground and an attic upstairs, the other building has only one floor out ground, with an extended shape, near the north side of the villa used as an artisan laboratory for the manufacture of small furnishing objects (large mirrors).


HISTORICAL DESCRIPTION

The Baldironi family, who edified the building, came from Rome, but in the 12th and 13th centuries lived in Monza, where they acquired a great importance, in fact some members of the family had a position of authority in the society of the time. In that period the villa was included in an urban system of villas and Italian gardens, which made of Lissone a typical place of pleasant residences and convents of religious order.
Nevertheless, a precise date of the completion of the building cannot be given from the historical material. In the 16th century the Baldironi family lived in Milan and had this villa in Lissone in the street dedicated to them.
The origin around the 15th century seems to be confirmed by some aesthetic and structural elements (the construction of considerable dimension in a part of the building). The presence of this building was certified for the first time in an official document of 1722( on the maps of Charles VI’s land record) and above all by the Lombardo-Veneto land record of 1856, where the uniqueness of the two buildings was written. The map of land record of this period showed on the piece of land that was on via Baldironi a cross to identify probably a family Chapel. Furthermore it could be noticed that rustics adjoin to the villa form a nucleus that was on piazza Piscina (now piazza Garibaldi), on via Baldironi and on the present via Fiume. Originally the entrance to the villa was on via Fiume. The villa and the family chapel resulted deeply connected.
In the first years of the 20th century a monumental building was erected with an exedra creating a relation between the old garden and the area in front of the villa. In those years the property passed to the Paleari family, they made remarkable transformations to give the house a new identity of civilian decorum. Rustics on the east of the villa were demolished, an entrance was realised consisting in a rathing with putti (which remind us of the villa Taverna in Canonica Lambro) towards piazza Garibaldi.
Due to a big demolition the villa was separated from the chapel. A body of building on the south-east (now cellar) was added to accommodate kitchens with fire-place on the ground floor and rooms on the first floor, according to the tastes and to the new necessities of this period. It was indeed very common to have fire-places in red marble of Verona, subsequently removed. Walls painted in fresco were in the living room.
The Paleari family sold the building to the Reati family; they operated a lot of transformations that seriously compromised the original aspect of the villa. In fact a laboratory was built in the north between the villa and the chapel, the completion of the north-east part of the building was made, the remarking in liberty style of the stair-case done, there were important tampering of installations and an improper use of rooms painted in fresco on the ground floor. These frescoes of the Venice school from 16th and 17th centuries were very suggestive. They have suffered in various ways (weather, deterioration because of neglect, etc.).
After the ‘60s with the building near the villa of two high co-ownerships, south of the historical Italian garden, the original contest was compromised causing its definitive distortions.
In 1985 the Lissone Town Council became the proprietor. They destroyed the last building built by the Reatis, leaving only a part of the perimetrical wall dividing the small garden from the artisan laboratory including the chapel.


PROPERTY PASSAGES

The origins

There are no certain and documented information about the exact dating of the building and the identity of the planner of the villa, however an origin of the late XVI century has been accepted and confirmed by some structural and aesthetic elements (structure of the door, bell in a shape of an eardrum on the roof of the villa, typical of the XVI century).

1450-1897 Family Baldironi

The presence of the Baldironi complex has been attested for the first time in an official document of the 1722-1750, the catasto Teresiano, which renders it part of an urban system of villas and italian gardens. In this period the family has already affirmed and its descendants have covered important public, political and ecclesiastic roles.
In the first half of the XVIII century, moreover, the chapel and the villa were already linked, as it is documented in the successive catasto Lombardo-Veneto (1855), in which the whole complex is described as an unitarian nucleus pointed out on piazza Piscina, via Baldironi and via Fiume.

1897-1940 Family Paleari

When the Palearis bought the villa, they transferred in the new property the ambitions of a rich and international climbing bourgeoisie, transforming the order of the complex. In fact the demolitions and the modifications gave to the villa an ulterior monumental aspect. The Palearis, differently from the Baldironis, who had realised an unitarian organisation of the complex, distinguish the owner’s house from the one of the dependants, having as a model a closer family in an isolated villa. Thus the link between the frescoed house and the chapel is destroyed, at East a construction designated for the kitchen is built, the entrance of the villa is moved on piazza Garibaldi.

1940-1980 Family Reati

After the cession to the Reatis the more manumitting transformations are done. In fact a shed destined to the working of glass and crystal is built; the North-East corner is closed, an ulterior body, which brings the villa to its actual shape of rectangular plant, is constructed. Moreover, the rooms on the first floor are controsoffittati, new bathrooms are built and the old stair of linking between the floors is substituted with a new one in liberty style. The roof endures an ulterior transformation, becoming of three strata. In few years the garden is embezzled, is ceded to the building speculation of the 50s and 60s which will realise two multi-floor buildings, rendering the villa closed and suffocated in an anonymous position in relation to the context of the city.

1981 The Town hall of Lissone

The villa is bought by the Communal Administration in 1981 and the first participation are soon realised: the laboratory is demolited and successively a participation on the cover (1986).

ARCHITECTONIC DESCRIPTION


OUTSIDE

The villa is sited at the edge of the old town centre of the city, in a background of a very high housing.The lot consists in a rectangle of 836 mq, which leaves a distance of 3/6 metres between the building and the border of the property.The two floors building shows vertical structures above all in masonry and horizontal in wood; every masonry has a bearing function and are made of lateritious or of a mixed material (bricks, long alluvial stones).
The arrangement of the stones in the wall, now plastered, is generally quite untidy, apart from some zones in which you can see alternate bands of lateritious and herringbone stones.
On the front the two floors are separated by a string-course cornice, while at the basement of the house side there’s a plinth 60 cm high.
Every opening is surrounded by prominent brick cornices covered with painted plaster.
The openings of the two floors correspond each others almost perfectly and sometimes, in order to maintain the regularity of the façade, there are “false” windows.
On the ground floor we can notice, on the southern side, a main entrance with a big main door, and next to it other three secondary entrances. Other two front doors are sited on the western and northern sides; on the latter we can also find a gate used in the past for the coaches.
On the first floor, on each eastern and southern sides, sticks out two balconies, with a stone basement and a iron balustrade.
The covering of roof tiles is made of three pitches: under the covering, on the southern-eastern and northern side, several little beams are based on a concrete “correa” with mouldings; beside, on the northern side, you can see a little bell gable in lateritious, decorated with prominent bricks.
Around the three building side runs a 1 metre wide pavement of tiles.

INTERIORS

Cellar

You can reach the little cellar through a stone stair, and the floor is made of earth.
The room is divided by a series of barrel vaults and arches laid out perpendicularly each other and of different highs; the brick vaults are simply white washed, while the arches and the walls are plastered and painted. On the northern side there’s a deep niche with brackets, while from the northern-eastern corner you can reach a little long room, through which you can come in a space under the stairs.

Ground floor

The ground floor of the building is divided in six rooms in addition to the star room which leads to the first floor.
The four main rooms, with similar characteristics and dimensions, have a L shape: three of them are set in sequence on the southern side, while the fourth one, perpendicularly oriented, is set in the north-western corner.
The north-eastern corner consists of a big room, completely opened on the northern side, where there are the stairs and the service rooms.
The four larger rooms are totally frescoed on the walls and shows wooden ceilings with extremely refined decorations.
The paintings, dated back to the XVII/XVIII centuries, represents landscapes with ruins and classical architectures; the imagines are framed by pilasters and painted volutes, whose shapes reminds the structures of the rooms, beating the rhythm of the windows and of the doors, accompanying and exalting the existing openings and simulating others where suitable, because of symmetry reasons.
The wooden ceilings of false lacunars and the panels are decorated with geometric and floral shapes painted or prominent made with paper-pulp. Each floor is different from the other ones, because of the actions made in this century: cement, parquet, marble tile, in terracotta tiles.

The column room
Along the walls are painted classical columns in perspective with ruins of patricians villas and statues near them, which gives an illusionist effect of deepness (called tromploil) behind which you can see a spring, bucolic and verdant landscape peopled with peasants.
The style, characterised by a light and day tone of the colour, remind the one of the school of Venice.
You can often see of the decorative motifs of the XVI century, as, for example, the cone, particular imperial motif, with a symbolical reference to the ancients; probably it was used in order to show the noble origins of the first owners of the villa.
In the room there’s also a fire place, above which you can see the coat of arms of the family which reproduces a castle with putti.

The busts room
On each wall of this room you can see women golden busts, completely unrelated to the environmental context in which they are placed.
In this room the representation is arranged into a classical architecture in perspective too, behind which you can see rock, dynamic landscape with rivers, waterfalls and luxuriant plants (probably eucalypts) moved by the wind.
The paintings gives a sense of dynamism, in contrast with the effect of quietness perceived in the previous room.
These frescoes, because of their illusionistic scenographical capability in creating real spaces, seem to reproduce the typical style of the XVII and XVIII centuries.

The battle room
In the upper part of the walls, above the doors, are painted gable architectures in which you can see monochromatic scenes of battles, probably related to the gods painted on the southern and northern sides.
On the central walls are represented “scene di genere”, typical of the XVI century, on a marine background; in particular, on the western wall, is painted a costal landscape with boats.
You can also notice a classical style, testified by the presence of a temple on the background, particularly developed at those times after the archaeological excavations promoted by Carlo di Borbone.
On the eastern wall, in fact, is painted a Greek statue, representing probably he famous hero Achille, with lance and shield. For the background is used the Leonardo’s technique of the sfumato, reproduced with an aerial perspective.
On the minor walls, northern and southern, are respectively represented the statue of Venus with an apple in her hand, and the one of Junoe (symbolised by the peafowl which indicates his incorruptibility).We can also often find the element of the shell, ornamental detail typical of the Rococo style.

Marine room
On the central walls are painted marine landscapes, arranged in false architectures made up with arabesque volutes and “dolphin backs”.
On the western wall is represented a sailing ship on which, differently from the previous room, there are no humans figures; on the opposite wall is represented a patrician renaissance villa, in a classical style, settled in a lagoon landscape covered by fog, which creates an effect of sfumato.
The villa represented in this painting remind the villa Reati. On the lateral walls (northern and southern) are respectively painted the figures of the Justice and of the Fortitude. These paintings may be dated back to the XVII and XVIII centuries and be the work of the school of Magnasco (1680-1740), who was working in various Lombard yards in that period.
This attribution may be confirmed by the representations of marine landscapes, typical of the Ligurian artist.

Eastern room
This room has no decorations on the walls, apart from the superior part of the two lateral doors where you can see the tracks of frescoes, which may be dated back to the XVII century.
The floor, differently from the other rooms in which is in marble, is made with herring bones terracotta tiles. The ceiling, lower than the ones of the other rooms is made with wood and the walls, originally made with uncovered bricks, have been afterwards white washed.
In the next local, the north-eastern one, there’s a secondary entrance, probably used by the coaches.

First floor

The ceilings of all the rooms on the first floor are much lower than the ones on the ground floor because of a lowering pannelling made of wood. After the collapse of almost all the low ceiling of the room in the south-west corner, a wooden panel was discovered. It is divided into squares and it is as high as the ones downstairs.
A fresco with floreal and animal motifs was discovered in the place between the original ceiling and the low one. The walls are covered in wallpaper and plaster, which hide a wall originally decorated with frescoes. The area in the north-east corner, made later, is different from the rest. First of all the depth of the wall is narrower; the attic in cement is of the beginning of the 20th century.
Also the ceiling is in cement. Most of the rooms have parquet flooring with a similar pattern to the ones of the ground floor; the ceilings of the service rooms, like bathrooms and kitchens, are covered with marble tiles. The parquet shows up the original structure revealing the changes made in this last century.

Garret

We can go up to the garret thanks to a series of rungs built into the wall of the stairs area, a narrow passage in ceiling allows to enter it.
The wall structure divides the room in similar way to the ones of the ground floor. The walls are not even due to the use of difficult bricks in the walls, where chimnery is placed. The supporting structure of the roof consists of wooden beams resting on the perpendicular walls, which transfer the weight to the walls. The covering was completely renovated some years ago and consists of state supports put on wooden beams. Over them the slates are set.