Located in Valeggio Sul Mincio, near Verona, Mantova, Brescia, Lake Garda (about 20 km from Sirmione) and the famous wine regions of Valpolicella and Franciacorta, Villa Sigurtà is one of the architectural jewels of the Veneto region. Since the Risorgimento this splendid Palladian villa has hosted famous people such as the emperors Franz Joseph I of Austria and Napoleon III of France. The Villa has private rooms and gardens that host prestigious ceremonies, gala evenings, conferences and events, both private and business. The rooms of Villa Sigurtà, with original furnishings of the seventeenth century, are a magical and elegant setting for receptions and photographic and film services. The large private garden park and the spectacular amphitheater of the pools dominated by waterfalls and surrounded by tropical plants, allow different options for celebrating civil rites, aperitifs and outdoor receptions.
Villa Sigurtà History
Villa Maffei, Nuvoloni, Sigurtà, called "Della Quercia" is a Venetian villa built between 1690 and 1693 in the neoclassical style located in Valeggio sul Mincio. In 1859 it became the headquarters of the Austrian emperor Franz Joseph. Later it was also home to the French emperor Napoleon III.
The villa was originally equipped with a large park of 60 hectares. Nowadays Parco Giardino Sigurtà is a private property but can be visited by appointment.
The complex was built on a project by the architect Vincenzo Pellesina, a disciple of Palladio, on a rural property. In the main façade there is a central portico with three bays, with entablature supported by columns. On the ceiling there is a fresco depicting the fall of Fetonte. The first important historical traces of the town of Valeggio sul Mincio are found in the protagonism that, in the pre-Roman era, takes the ford of the Mincio and the installation of the first mills. Continuing along the path of time, when the Venetian Republic reaches its maximum splendor after securing the dominance of the sea, the Lords of the Veneto compete to build a whole constellation of villas in the country villages, which represent the bucolic extrapolation of the palaces of city.
The Conti Maffei, named by the Doge of Venice, the Lords of Valeggio and Montalbano, moved in their fiefdom from the palace of Verona, and lived there in a solid but austere building. To follow the trend of the time, they decided to build, right next door, the Villa, which then belonged to the Nuvoloni Counts and later to the Counts Sigurtà and whose construction lasted from 1790 to 1793.
Clearly inspired by Palladiana, the work of the architect Vincenzo Pellesina (1637-1700), it is one of the most important architectural works of the eighteenth century in the Province of Verona.
The large reception rooms, the loggia, the staircase and the numerous frescoes by Biagio Falcieri, are witnesses of its function of representation, a reflection of the power and wealth of one of the most famous Venetian families that extends its «autoritas» on a wide territory on the border between the provinces of Mantua and Verona.
After the fall of the Venetian Republic the Villa assumes a considerable historical importance in the Risorgimento, within its walls will decide the fate of Italy at the end of the Second War of Independence.
In 1836 Anna Maffei married with Count Filippo Nuvoloni and brought the Valeggiana property, which in 1859 will be chosen as the seat of the Emperor Franz Joseph who considers the Mincio an excellent natural barrier to defend against the pressing Piedmontese troops and the ally French.
But his stay lasts very little and when the Hapsburg lines are broken, he is forced to a quick and undignified retreat first in the fortress of Peschiera and then in Verona. The names of his generals still fade on the doors of the rooms of the Villa , when the French soldiers occupy Valeggio.
Napoleon III stayed in Villa Maffei today Sigurtà from 1 to 12 July 1859 and established his headquarters in the victorious "Campagne d'Italie" alongside Vittorio Emanuele II, concluding the Second War of Independence with the signature of the Armistice in the nearby Villafranca on 11 July.
It is bitter the disappointment of the King of Italy, who signs the Treaty with a laconic "pour ce qui me oncerne", (as far as I'm concerned), and the frustration of the Sardinian Piedmontese fighters is great, after the bloody victories of Solferino, San Martino and Magenta, obtained with the support of the French troops, already dream of seeing the Italian tricolor waving on the Basilica of San Marco.
In the meantime Henry Dunant organizes improvised hospitals in the churches of Castiglione delle Stiviere and sees the people of the villages moved to Solferino and San Martino, who challenge the crossfire to assist the wounded, without giving importance to the color of the uniform, without understanding in what language they complain, simply because they are suffering human beings. The Swiss who fails to meet Napoleon III in the villa, realizes the desperate need to offer international protection to rescuers in the battlefields and four years later, in Geneva, with the support of a Spaniard, Empress in Paris, reverses the colors of its Flag and creates, with a red cross in the white field, an institution, the International Red Cross, which will then become indispensable in all conflicts and that all the countries of the world will respect, albeit with increasingly frequent tragic exceptions.
The Villa was owned by the Maffei family until 1836 when Anna Maffei, marrying Count Filippo Nuvoloni, brought the Valeggian property as a dowry. The Nuvoloni family owned it for 93 years, from 1836 to 1929. In 1929 the whole complex was sold to Maria Paulon, wife of the local doctor, Cesare Sangiovanni. Finally, in April 1941, the Milan-based industrialist Giuseppe Conte Giuseppe Sigurtà bought the property and, after the war, restores it following the canons of Palladian villas, and decorates it with the help of his wife, the Countess Alessandra who reports the dwelling at its former glory.
The halls of the Villa are known for the illustrious guests who stay there through the years they mix the characters of nobility, art and science, the echo of the voices of Maria Callas, Rosanna Carteri and Giulietta Simionato, mingle with the Royal ones of Victoria Eugenia of Spain, Constantine of Greece, Simeon of Bulgheria, Charles of England, Philip of Belgium and PrIncipi of Liechtenstein and of Luxembourg and of the Nobel Prizes Konrad Lorenz and Alexander Fleming, and of Waksman and Albert Sabin, among many, many others, who write with their presence the new story of this dwelling.
Now, in our days, you can share with the friendly shadows of history an unforgettable stay enjoying the three super suites and suites, the large halls and the romantic private garden of about five hectares, walking among the old trees up to the monumental pool with its waterfall to add a dip in the water to that already done over time.