Not so long ago, Villa Necchi was used as a setting for one of the most boring and pointless films I have ever watched with an equally stupid title: I am Love. The film may have been awful but the villa is fabulous, built by the two Necchi sisters (and the husband of one) whose fortune came from sewing machines (hence the incongruous photograph above) as well as other industries. The couple never had any children and they left the villa to FAI, the Italian equivalent of the National Trust, who restored and opened it to the public and I am lucky enough to be great friends with Ilaria Borletti, the chair of FAI, who very kindly arranged for me to visit when I was recently staying with her in Milan. The interior of the villa (and exterior too) is miraculously intact and made even more interesting by the addition of part of Claudia Gian Ferrari‘s art collection. So, I thought I would forget about food (or belly dancing for that matter) in this post to share with you a few pictures of the house. Unfortunately, I had left my fancy camera in London and had to take them with my iphone!
The main staircase of the house — there is a service one — and a marvellous sculpture from the Ferrari collection.
The villa was built by Piero Portaluppi who I wish had done my loft. Lots of great details and ideas with all the doors inside sliding. The one above had been painted over and the mirrored lattice work was revealed during the restoration work.
These are security ‘grills’ behind the door that leads from the conservatory below which is one of the rare rooms still furnished as it had been orignally.
Portaluppi also paid attention to ceilings and decorated them with either geometric patterns like in the study below or with decorative plaster work like the ceiling in the dining room.
There wasn’t much left of the original kitchen except for the servants chairs and table and a very lovely pantry where I found this kitchen aid from the 50’s, an original sink and the servants call board!
The bathrooms on the other hand were quite fabulous and totally intact, with original taps, fittings, loos and towel rails.
Only one bedroom still had the bed and dressing table that were designed by Portaluppi but the dressing rooms were still intact, not only with the original cupboards but also some of the clothes that the sisters wore.
Other details included rather wonderful windows in the downstairs lavatory with the one below operated by the most amazing handle because it was very high.
And in between, there were marvellous scultpures in the corridors, an ironing room with gorgeous linen and a marvellous service table that I wish I could have in my dining room. In fact, my visit to Villa Necchi made me want to decorate a new house. Perhaps it is time for me to move although I wonder if I have the energy to go through the whole process again!