Villa Mosconi Bertani, also known as Villa Novare, is a neoclassical Venetian villa dating back to the 18th century. The estate extends the extension of a previous complex of the sixteenth century and consists of a summer residence, monumental cellar, large brolo (twenty-two hectares) and appliances entirely dedicated to viticulture. Villa Mosconi Bertani is also known for being an important center of Romanticism thanks to the Italian poet and scholar Ippolito Pindemonte as well as the birthplace of Amarone wine. It is located in the municipality of Negrar in Novare, in Valpolicella, in the province of Verona. The villa, the park, the winery and its vineyards are today owned by the family of Gaetano Bertani and open to the public every day for guided tours and for cultural and private events.
Villa Mosconi Bertani History
The villa is located in one of the places not yet contaminated by building speculation and its naturalistic setting immersed in the countryside increases its already indisputable artistic beauty. The valley of Novare has a great geological and hydrological interest for the seven perennial sources that fed in the Roman era the aqueduct of the city of Verona and the rich iron deposits exploited in antiquity.
The construction of the villa was started by the Fattori family around 1735 on the side of the pre-existing sixteenth-century cellar in the place of an ancient settlement first arusnate and then of Roman times. It was sold unfinished to the Mosconi family in 1769, who completed the construction by adding a magnificent English-style eight hectare park in addition to expanding its wine making it one of the major wineries of the period in Northern Italy. During the ownership of the Mosconi it was also important literary salon frequented by exponents of the culture of the time, including the poet and scholar Ippolito Pindemonte. In the first half of the twentieth century the villa experienced years of neglect and vandalism that ruined the park and some of its rooms. In 1953 it was bought and renovated by the Bertani family to make it the seat of the homonymous winery. Since 2012 it has been owned by the Gaetano Bertani family, which continues the family tradition in the production of wines.
The complex is a typical example of the Palladian idea of the Villa Veneta with integration in the architectural project of both the productive and agricultural part linked to the wine and the residential and master, representing in the center of the valley a sort of neoclassical temple in reference to a community that he had thirty-five families residing on the estate. It consists of a main building with two advanced low wings, ending in two symmetrical façades. Above the eastern wing stands the bell tower of the chapel (consecrated to San Gaetano), while on both sides two gates give access to the cottages and cellars.
The construction of the entire plant, ie the central body of the villa, the chapel and the cellars, occurred in the first half of the eighteenth century by the Veronese architect Adriano Cristofali on commission of the first owner of the estate Giacomo Fattori. He had it built on a pre-existing 16th century settlement.
The intervention of the Fattori family started in 1710, aimed at giving the residence an aristocratic tone, had a clear self-congratulatory purpose, since they had been awarded the title count. The project was initially entrusted to the architect Lodovico Perini who died before the start of the works and was completed by the Cristofoli who masterfully worked out the central body, clearly classifying the classicist and revising the two perpendicular wings. In this way he created the front garden, even managing to conceal the view of the rustic side, not very aristocratic, separating the area dedicated to idleness from that more properly agricultural.
The main building has three floors and consists of an architectural framework marked by a double order: tuscanico on the ground floor and Ionic on the upper floor. In the central part, the main façade ends with a tympanum containing the coat of arms added by the Trezza, on which stand out five statues of mythological deities. The statues of the garden are attributed to the sculptor Lorenzo Muttoni.
The Muses hall, beautifully frescoed, where you can see the two Mosconi coats of arms, includes in height the three floors of the villa, divided by the painted wooden balustrade that divides them into two overlapping horizontal bands:
- In the lower part dominates the use of the fake ashlar. The painted niches contain the monochrome statues representing the Muses of the Arts: Architecture, Sculpture, Painting, Geometry, Astronomy and Music;
- In the upper part there are fantastic architectures with trompe l'oeil, which give a perspective connotation to the whole. The lateral monochrome paintings represent the statues of Abundance and Justice, while the satyrs painted above the doors recall the four seasons.
The four seasons and therefore the passing of time (with a clear reference to the agricultural context in which we were and still) are the main theme of the fresco on the ceiling. At its center, sitting among colorful flowers, Flora stands out and on its lower left side are the Spring and Summer, painted in warm, bright tones. On the opposite side, in evident chromatic contrast, as represented by dark storm clouds, are found Autumn and Winter. Among all then, is Zephyr, who hovers in the air followed by festive little angels, while in the background you can see Apollo in his wagon.
The authors of the frescoes were Emilian artists, active in Verona. In particular, the decorative cycle of the two horizontal bands was attributed to the quadruptural painter Prospero Pesci, of the school of Filippo Maccari, while the central fresco on the ceiling was attributed to Giuseppe Valliani, known as the Pistoiese.
At the end of the eighteenth century in Verona began to spread naturalistic complexes in harmony with the fashion of the time (the beginning of Romanticism), which saw the English garden prevail (landscaped, romantic, with exotic plants, avenues, isolated places, corners with fake archaeological ruins) on the Italian one, mainly green and regular. On that trail the brothers Giacomo and Guglielmo Mosconi settled the land behind the villa, giving them a dual destination, garden and forest. They built the small lake, fed by the springs present in the property, the small island in the center on which tall Taxodium rise, reached by a wooden bridge and the coffee house inspired by similar northern European constructions. The project of the park was suggested by Ippolito Pindemonte to whom we owe some influences of English origin that he illustrated in the essay published in 1792 by the Academy of Sciences and Agriculture of Padua entitled "Above the English Gardens".
Apart from the plants on the islet of an exotic nature and some cedars of Lebanon, the trees present are the most suitable with the types of wood. In 1820 the Persico described a "garden varied by exotic plants" that also inspired the Verona painter Angelo Dall'Oca Bianca.
On a bank of the pond is the chalet built on the basis of the travel experiences of Ippolito Pindemonte, who was struck by some sources and prairies seen in France, where he used to spend holiday periods as a guest of friends of Jean-Jacques Rousseau of which, in turn, was a very good friend. In the afternoon it was used to read, maybe on the way back from the walks, while in the evening it lent itself for social games, chess for example or for moments enlivened by the sound of the harp, played by the daughters of the countess.
In the park there is also a glacier, also built towards the end of the eighteenth century and used until the first half of the last century.
Inside the garden there are still statues and seats as well as a small gushing fountain. The wide area enclosed by a wall, located behind the villa, not only encloses the garden but also a vast vineyard so as to give the landscape complex the values of a garden-countryside. A gate punctuated by ashlar pillars with cusps and decorative vases encloses the noble court in front of the villa, delimiting the front garden. This presents a regular design with a wide central circular flowerbed used as well as for ornamentation, also to regulate the sense of travel of the carriages entering and leaving the villa and a small circular tank. For the historical and environmental value the park of Villa Mosconi Bertani is listed among the eighty parks of the list of the Great Italian Gardens.
At the Villa he lived for ten years as guest of Countess Elisabetta Mosconi the playwright Ippolito Pindemonte who, during the period of residence Pindemonte also perfected his translation of the Homer's Odyssey.
In June 1806 Ugo Foscolo most likely met the Pindemonte in the villa and from the talks the initial idea of the Came Dei sepolcri was born. It was written between August 1806 and April 1807 and was published in Brescia this year. publisher Niccolò Bettoni. The Pindemonte replied by writing his eponymous carme to that of Foscolo and the publisher Gamberetti of Verona published in 1807 both the "epistles" with the title: "The Sepulchres - verses of Ugo Foscolo and d'Ippolito Pindemonte".
The VIlla is located in the Valpolicella area, production area of the Valpolicella Classico Doc and Amarone Classico Docg. The large cellar of Villa Mosconi is one of the oldest existing in continuous activity in Italy. The valley was probably the site of wine production already in Roman times and the first written records speak of a production cellar already X century after Christ (900 AD).
The production of wines saw an important expansion during the ownership of the Mosconi family at the end of the 18th century and later with the family Trezza Secolo XIX century when it reached a remarkable production capacity, representing one of the greatest Italian wineries of the time producing more than a million bottles and employing twenty-six families as evidenced by the photo book and report by M. Lotze. This photographic report and agronomic report of remarkable artistic value and historical value, represents a unique document for Verona illustrating in detail the innovations introduced for the first time in this estate In the nineteenth century the production already boasted the adoption of the high method density of vine growing "Guyot" and a great specialization of the winery in the production and export of fine wines. The report was commissioned around 1882 and is still preserved by the Academy of Agriculture Sciences and Letters of Verona. The appellation "Amarone" referring to the typical Valpolicella wine was subsequently coined right here in 1936 when the method of fermentation of the dried grapes was put in place to produce this precious dry wine.
Since 1953 the winery had a further development with the acquisition by the Bertani family. Since mid-2012, the property is home to the Tenuta Santa Maria di Gaetano Bertani, which continues the more than century-old family winemaking tradition.