Page - Villa Maggi Ponti
The Hotel Julia is located in front of the town of Cassano d’Adda (Milan) which, placed on the old boundary of the Duchy of Milan, was witness to the centuries of major armed clashes.
For the passage of the Bridge of Cassano fought Frederick I of Swabia (Barbarossa 1166), Ezzelino Romano (Vicar of Federico II in 1259), the Prince Eugenio di Savoia stopped by the Duke of Vendome (1705), the Russian General Suvarov (1799) and Napoleon I. in 1859 emperor Napoleon III stayed there in march against the Austrians at Solferino.
Villa Maggi Ponti
The body of the villa is at the center of a structure made from the large veranda, where you can spend relaxing and quiet summer evenings, the restaurant dining room is illuminated and warmed by a large fireplace, and the hotel, whose rooms are housed on the premises of customs and dominated by the fourteenth-century tower.
The villa is situated on an island, which takes its name from the initial owner of this place, Eng. Pietro Ponti, Industrial and landowner, who in addition to owning land and farms also had the right to collect pebbles nell’Adda to the borders with the territory of Revolt (Cascina Seriole).
The owner of the Villa, Ing. Bridges, originally from Brianza (Canzo), had implanted in the area a thriving commercial activities consisting in the recovery of pebbles from the river and their processing through the kitchen into furnaces it owns obtaining building material, which then it was sold for building. It owned, also has some farmhouses and outbuildings cultivated farmland.
The villa was built as a family residence in the early ‘900 and testifies to the considerable financial resources achieved by Eng. Pietro Ponti.
From the architectural point of view this villa reflects the taste of the time and the love of the owner for the recovery of the traces of the past and definitely the interest in historical artifacts (of which you have never seen track below the entrance arch of the Tower).
Between the second half of the nineteenth and the early twentieth century, as a result of the industrial revolution, the bourgeoisie had achieved a certain economic power and consequently also social and political prestige. However, not being a carrier of their cultural needs (the revolution in the modern sense of architecture takes place a few decades later), look at the expressions of the past as a reference to give prestige to its buildings, revisiting romantic style architecture of the medieval period and gothic, sometimes present together in the same building, and thus gives rise to an eclectic style, a blend of different artistic expressions.
In this villa, in particular, it affects the entrance tower, which proposes the crenellated tower of medieval castles and characterizes the image of the complex, which is configured outwardly as a closed court without other elements of particular importance. Even the colors of the turret, in the alternation of red and ocher, now a bit ‘worn by time, reminiscent of the medieval atmosphere. It confers further elegance to the ashlar facade realized with the cobblestones.
The family’s history
At his death Eng. Bridges leaves three daughters a villa and a farmhouse with adjoining land to each. At the eldest daughter, Emilia, he touched inherited this villa.
Emilia, refined woman, married Giulio Maggi, an industrialist who had a factory of bristles for brushes in Milan. From the union three children were born: Olga (whom it fell to the home of Canzo), Pierfranco, who inherited the Cassano and Marco Villa, who died at a young age for a serious illness. Both spouses died around the ’30s.
Since childhood Pierfranco Maggi showed a real passion for the cultivation of the plants, so that the father repeatedly tried to prune it with the factory itself to start their own business, but there was no way, because the young man lost no opportunity to collect ground and fertilizer and plant trees and engage.
Growing up, the young Pierfranco undertook a journey, which took him to Egypt, where he met a woman of Greek origin named Evangelia Belleni, who married and brought along in Cassano. This woman had a strong personality and great charm; definitely was a woman of the world, as they knew several languages, loved the life of society and not above the game. He lived in this house during the war, a period when the house was occupied by a German garrison, which gave her the opportunity to learn easily even German.
Pierfranco Maggi became the last estate owner and was able to realize his passion: he planted here a cultivation of orchids, building greenhouses in the garden and a large fireplace for heating them.
The florovivastica activities acquired some importance, and Pierfranco became known in the industry for making some orchid hybrids and four species were registered in his name in the Botanical Register of London as orchids selected.
After the war the couple separated in fact and Pierfranco lived in Bordighera, where he continued his florist business and had a new partner, which apparently was a refugee from Yugoslavia.
On the death of Evangelia, in 1962, the villa of Cassano passed only son Giulio, who marries a widow with two children, named Giuseppina Borghi (daughter of industrialist paper mills Borghi), which, however, most likely, not He had great interest in keeping the villa of Cassano. In fact he withdrew all the furniture and objects of the house and transferred them at his home in Milan.
So it was that Pierfranco, back to Cassano, he found the house naked and decided to sell it.
In 1972, according to the saying, after rejecting proposals, accept – perhaps out of sympathy – that of Eng. Colombo, who has since lived there with his family, allocating part of the complex as a hotel and restaurant, so some local and part of the garden have been adapted for this need.