Sunday, October 10, 2010

A Villa

Naples! What does the name of this great capital evoke? Founded in the 9-8th century BC, as a Greek colony, under the name of Παρθενόπη Parthenope, and later Νεάπολις Neápolis (New City), Naples is one of the oldest cities in the world. The mere mention of Napoli brings fear to the hearts of Europe-bound travelers, but it's only because they've never been here and know little of its great beauties and elegant benevolence. This private home, called Villa Prota, belongs to the Baronessa Selvaggia Sanserevino di Marcellinara. It's an extraordinary property that stretches, from a chaotic inland road through a densely populated neighborhood not at all worthy of this great estate, a distance of five kilometers to the Mediterranean shore.


It was built in the 18th century, in the Baroque period, as is obvious in this photo of the villa's facade. How beautiful this central balcony with its belvedere, as if it were carved out of the building with a knife.

And the villa has a garden of great interest, which contains all of the elements of the Neapolitan gardens of that era—I'll be showing more examples of this great garden style in my next several posts. I was very taken by this row of potted euforbias standing against the wall of the house, which have risen to a height of 12 feet or more, proving that this is a plant that needs very little soil to make it happy.

The spider plant, Chlorophytum comosum, which has found refuge in city apartments everywhere for eons, finds true joy here in this warm southern climate—its spidery offspring have taken hold all around, having fallen from their mother's perch upon this ancient stone plinth.

A portico framed by a pair of ancient Cupressus semperverns, leads from the villa to its farmlands beyond, where we find a thousand orange trees, and the occasional lemon, planted to either side of the road shown below, which leads straight to the sea.

Inside the villa, below, is this staircase, which I very much admired; it speaks of the 18th century in its diminutive form and all of its proportions are exact!

And what is this mountain rising over the villa's roof? It's Vesuvius, naturally, in wait!

1 comment:

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Paul,
Thanks so much for your kind note, and for leading me here to your gorgeous blog! It's a stunner. I have spent a good while admiring your lovely work. It's been a treat, and I am sure I shall visit you often!

Best wishes,
Pamela