Historical Notes: Villa Bazzoni

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The Villa Bazzoni, located in the historical centre  of Trieste in via Bazzoni n. 2, was acquired by the Astronomical Observatory of Trieste in 1998 with the financial contribution of Fondo Trieste (Funds for Trieste) of the Italian Government Representative Office in the region Friuli Venezia Giulia. In the following years extensive restoration works of both the villa and of the adjoining buildings were carried out thanks to funding from Fondo Trieste and from the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research. The restoration works maintained the structural and artistic aspect of the premises to the most possible extent. At the same time the most modern safety and communication systems were installed in the buildings, as well as bio-architecture equipments, and adjustments for access to the premises were introduced.

 

The total floor area of the villa is 1,100 square meters, of which 170 are presently taken up by the Astrophysics and Cosmology sector of the Department of Physics of the University of Trieste. The Oval room and the Pompei room of the Villa are now used as meeting rooms and each can host  more than 50 people. Together with the horse stable buildings and the park the surface of the premises totals 5,200 square meters. At present the buildings host some dozens of  research staff together with research fellows, degree students and PhD students, who carry out research in the fields of astrophysics, cosmology and technologies for space observations and data archiving.

 

The villa was built during the years 1837 and 1838 in a large park on the hill of San Vito after the project of  architect Giovan Battista de Puppi from Cividale. On the same hill, just 100 meters away, the palace called Basevi Castle which presently  hosts the main seat of the Observatory, was built 55 years later. The owner of the Villa was Gracco Bazzoni (1798-1871), a merchant from Lezzeno on lake Como, who was the progenitor of a long-lasting dynasty. Among them was Riccardo Bazzoni who was podestà of the town of Trieste from 1878 to 1890. In the years preceding the Second World War Aurelia Bazzoni hosted in the villa a famous literary and art circle and enriched the interiors with artistic items. She had a new small wing of the villa built on the side of the park overlooking Via dei Navali. In later years her daughter Anna hosted in the villa a mountaineering club and Evelina, her younger daughter, a music circle and a flourishing activity of literary translation.

 

The villa is a three-storey square-plan building with apse on the park side. The wide central atrium  on the ground floor is surmounted by a wide hall on the first floor and by openings in the storey floors in correspondence of the attic window which allows daylight illumination of the villa. The double winder stairway leads to the wide hall on the first floor which is surrounded by slender pillars. In the hall on the first floor a decorated wall hides the stairs to the upper floor where the rooms of the domestic staff were originally located. The villa is extensively decorated with various techniques, such as the mosaic floor in the atrium and the paint and fresco decorations of the Oval room and of the Pompeian room after the neoclassical style and with patterns which resemble the later Art Nouveau.

 

The accurate restoration of Villa Bazzoni requested several works to strengthen the structure and to eliminate the layers of various structural additions. Whenever possible, materials and techniques of the XIX Century were employed during the restoration works.

 

The original plumbing system and the cavity wall ventilation plant were recovered, wooden pillars and casing were recovered and underwent restoration only if necessary to maintain the aspect of the building unaltered. Internal spaces were re-organized in order to preserve the historical layout and aspect of the villa and at the same time to meet the requirements of a modern research institute.