Actually, the full name of the villa is Villa Durazzo – Centurione. It is located in Santa Margherita Ligure (I wrote about SML here) and very often it is completely ignored by the tourists that visit this hamlet. They really don’t know what they miss! Villa Durazzo is a magnificent palace, located on the hill, away from the beaten, tourists tracks. Its stunning park is always opened and gives a fantastic opportunity to get a rest and stay away for a while from the crowds that invade every year Santa Margherita Ligure. Absolutatly it is the place to be!
Villa Durazzo-Centurione complex consists of two patrician Villas, XVI century castle and XVII century park. The Villa was built on the hill in 1678, by Marquis Durazzo, who used it as a summer residence. In the XVIII century, it was purchased by the Prince family Centurione (hence the double name of the Villa) who enlarged and enriched a new park with exotic plants and marble sculptures. At the end of the XIX century, the Villa was sold again and became a seat of the Grand Hotel. After World War II, in 1973 it was bought by a municipality of Santa Margherita Ligure and since then is the place of the exhibitions and local cultural events.
Inside it is possible to visit the Prince apartments and a museum dedicated to a local writer Giovanni Rossi. The park has an Italian-style garden with typical Ligurian paths made of black and white pebbles called risseu.
Piazzale San Giacomo 3
Park opening hours: WINTER 9.00am-5.00pm, Summer 9.00am-8.00pm
Villa opening hours: Every Day; WINTER 9.30am-1.00pm and 2.00pm-5.00pm, SUMMER 9.30am-1.00pm and 2.00pm-6.00pm
Entrance: villa 5,50€, children 3€; park free of charge
When you enter from the seaside, you will notice a spacious hall with a slate and marble pavement. The villa’s rooms that are possible to visit are placed on two floors.
On the ground floor, on the left side from the entrance, there is the Vietri Room, antique dining room with neoclassical style frescoes and majolica floors from the XVIII century.
On the right side from the entrance, there is the Vaymer Room that together with its Louis XVI furnishings, contains important portrays of members of the Centurione family.
Then you can go up the staircase that leads you on the first floor (the noble floor). The first room you see will be the large Stuccos Hall. The hall is distinguished by a magnificent, crystal chandelier and by its Genoese style polychrome marble pavement.
Then you continue with the Venetian Room decorated with Oriental style furniture and with paintings of the Ligurian painters.
Then you reach the Music Room where you will see the ancient piano, paintings from the XVII century and a beautiful, turquoise Murano glass chandelier.
Room of the Grotesques
Next, you will see the Room of the Grotesques. Here you can admire a Murano glass chandelier and the representations of the grotesques that gave the name of this room. Among the furniture, there is a wonderful console of the XVIII century. The room hosts also a small collection of the XVII century Genoese paintings.
Then you arrive at Loggiato Mare with its fantastic sea view. The room is frescoed with allegories of the four seasons. It contains also a small chapel that is entirely frescoed. Next to the chapel, on the wall, there is a mirror with wood frame decorated with floral motif (XVIII century).
Then you continue to the Fireplace Room which is furnished with Napoleon I style furniture. The particularity of the room is its fireplace covered with majolica tiles and above a gilded mirror.
The last room is the Queen’s bedroom. It is dedicated to the Italian queen Margherita of Savoy, in memory of her visit in the Villa Durazzo in 1904.
Bellometti collection and the Vittorio Rossi office
The Villa also hosts the Bellometti collection, that includes works of artists like Dudovich, Bozino, Hardy, Levy, de Pisis, ceramics and Chinoiserie.
Near the Bellometti collection, there is the reconstruction of the office of Vittorio G. Rossi, the journalist and famous traveller that was born in Santa Margherita in 1898.
Villa San Giacomo
The complex of Durazzo-Centurione consists on also in Villa San Giacomo. It is located next to the main villa. It is much smaller and nowadays it is a place where ceremonies and meetings are organized.
San Giacomo Church
And the last (but not least 😉 and actually the first that you will see, when you climb the hill where the villa is located, you can visit the Baroque style church of San Giacomo.
Finally, I also add that the complex Durazzo – Centurione includes also a castle. It is located below the villa’s hill, next to the local fish market. It was built in 1550 to protect the town from the attacks of North African pirates. The castle defended the town till XVIII century. In the following centuries completely lost its importance and became a ruin. It was restored after World War II and nowadays it is a house of the exhibitions of the local artists.
What else can I add? Don’t absolutely miss this place when you stay in Santa Margherita Ligure! 😉
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