Villa Piccolo is located on the hills of Capo d’Orlando. Built in the early twentieth century, Teresa Mastrogiovanni Tasca Filangeri di Cutò lived there, who moved from Palermo with her children the poet Lucio Piccolo, the painter and photographer Casimiro Piccolo, and Agata Giovanna Piccolo, a botanical lover. The Barons of Calanovella were related to the Filangeri, the Viceroys of Sicily and the Princes of Lampedusa. The mother was the aunt of Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, the author of the “Gattopardo”.
Inside the Museum of Villa Piccolo, are kept part of the goods that belonged to the Family: art objects, paintings, ceramics, ancient weapons, books, prints, documents and there are the autograph letters of cousin Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa.
Villa Piccolo is located on the hills of Capo d’Orlando, in the province of Messina. Built in the early twentieth century, Teresa Mastrogiovanni Tasca Filangeri di Cutò, who moved here from Palermo with her children: the poet Lucio Piccolo, the painter and photographer Casimiro Piccolo, and Agata Giovanna Piccolo, a botanical lover.
The Museum of Villa Piccolo, managed by the Fondazione Famiglia Piccolo of Calanovella, was inaugurated in 1978. Inside are kept part of the property that belonged to the Family: art objects, paintings, ceramics, antique weapons, books, prints, documents and there are the autograph letters of cousin Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa.
The collections of the house-museum reflect the philosophy of the Piccolo family, who believed in culture as a means of spiritual elevation, accessible to all, without obstacles or discrimination. In the visitors’ register there are tens of thousands of signatures, of people who came to the Villa of Capo d’Orlando from all over the world.
Visiting the Museum of the Piccolo Foundation one realizes how intimately and proudly Sicilians were Lucio, Casimiro and Giovanna. Here are preserved the testimonies of Lucio’s poetic genius, the ecological commitment (as we would say today) of Agata Giovanna, the pictorial art and the esoteric interests of Casimiro. And the memory, which is also vivid, of the whimsicality, extravagance, and the vices of the three brothers, seems at times to cross over into a mythical dimension.
Inside is kept the collection of “magic watercolors” of Casimiro Piccolo, but also the other works: the youthful paintings and portraits, some of rare beauty.
Along with the paintings, there are also photographs: shots that reveal the artistic mastery of Baron Piccolo di Calanovella and that can be divided, in turn, into family portraits, fragments of rural life, portions of the garden, with butterflies and beetles, and those relating to the “modernity” that advances. And the house-museum houses its cameras, together with palettes, drawings and thoughts that seem to merge, to redefine the outlines of the very value of the trait.
The rooms of the house-museum remind visitors of the passions of the Piccolo brothers and in each room are concentrated the beloved and identifying objects of the people who lived there.
In Lucio Piccolo’s room are collected some of his photos and the first prints of his poems, framed, together with dear objects and, in his opinion, full of inspiring value of the past, while the room of Agata Giovanna, with her pink candelabra and her embroideries, offers the visitor the discovery of the world of this kind woman, who loved to cultivate her passion for botany and cooking.
And there is, emblematic, the room where Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, first cousin of the Piccolo family, used to stay during the summer months. Here, on a desk, the last autograph letter that the Author of the Leopard sent to Villa Piccolo, just a month before his death.
The steps and the antechambers are furnished and upholstered with paintings, objects, photographs and memories. Among them, a very ancient travel chest: a unique piece, whose complex theft-proof lock reveals the genius and technical skills of those who made it, but also a grand piano, testimony to the passion for music of Lucio Piccolo, who was also a fine composer.
The house-museum moves in a continuous play of light and shadow, which penetrates each room. Now you can see the magic of the garden in which the Villa is immersed, now the Plain of Capo d’Orlando, to the sea, which opens the doors of perception to the view of the Aeolian Islands, now, on the right, the Monte della Madonna overlooking the village, caressed behind it by Lipari and Vulcano: echoes and images only apparently distant, which make their entrance into this home: ocean of silence and privileged observation point, from which the Piccolo di Calanovella observed the world and its rapid evolution.
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