Friday, September 5, 2014

Design in Northern Italy: Villar Perosa, Home of the Last Swan Marella Agnelli.

The Chinoiserie Gallery is the centerpiece of this 18th-century Northern Italian estate, Villar Perosa.

An enchanting estate in Northern Italy, Villar Persoa is the home of style icon Marella Agnelli.  One of ten residences spread throughout Turin, Rome, Milan, New York, St. Moritz, and Marrakech, ranging from regally classic villas to ultramodern apartments, her impeccable taste shines through these gorgeous homes and gardens, and Villar Persoa is no exception.

Available for pre-order from Amazon

Marella Agnelli, born May 4, 1927 as Princess Donna Marella Caracciolo di Castagneto, the daughter of a Neapolitan prince and a mother from Peoria, Illinois.  :)   Marella is an Italian art collector, socialite, style icon and widow of former Fiat industrialist Gianni Agnelli.  Her exclusive world is one of the twentieth century's most glamorous; she was nicknamed "The Swan" by Richard Avedon who photographed her iconic portrait in 1953.  In October of this year a newly penned book,  Marella Agnelli: The Last Swan offers a rare look inside her family's captivating Northern Italian estate, Villar Persoa, and her other private homes and gardens.  

18th-centruy landscape by V.A. Cignaroli hangs over the tufted silk, sofa; the carpet is an antique Aubusson.

Giuseppe Agnelli, acquired the estate in the early 19th century and planted mulberry trees for raising silkworms.  This investment was so successful that in 1899, Giuseppe helped to launch Fabbrica Italiana di Automobili Torino,  a.k.a. Fiat to you and me.  Gianni Agnelli, Marella's husband, served as chairman and industrialist for 30 years.  More than six decades and eight generations later, this 18th-century former hunting lodge attributed to architect Filippo Juvarra, and situated within views of the French alps, is a graceful essay in Piedmontese Baroque architecture.  Here are just some of the beautiful photos of her villa.  Enjoy!

Majolica plaques adorn the walls, along with flanking mirrors that surround a set of french doors.

The original 1730's house by architect Filippo Juvarra.  The left-side pictured is the vine-covered children's wing built in the 1920's.

Gianni Agnelli's suite:  the 18th-century bed is curtained with embroidered fabric and resides on the piano nobile.  
(piano nobile, (Italian: “noble floor”), in architecture, main floor of a Renaissance building)

The television room: an 1880's Louis Vivin painting of a heron and 19th-centruy botanical illustrations frame the room.

The families' Gothic revival chapel embraced by yews and boxwoods.

The Bishop's Room features antique paintings set within carved moldings; an embroidered bed decorated by Stephane Boudin in the 1950's.

 "There was this 
sense of being in an 
enchanted time 
warp," said Marella 
Agnelli, recalling 
her first visit 
to Villar Perosa.

Gorgeous reds, pinks and greens, Marella's suite embellished and layered with a beautiful peony chintz fabric. I love that she added a handmade crochet throw and a porcelain turkey, signifying that Villar Persoa is not only a beautiful villa, but also a beautiful home.

All the best, Rié

Photography by Oberto Gili via ARCHDIGEST.COM


  1. I looked at this post earlier today and was busily reading every single word when, suddenly, I was called away from home. This woman is truly magnificent in every single way isn't she? I have read about her all my life with great interest. As I have Italian heritage she, above all the other "swans" captured my heart. This is a beautiful tribute to her; thank you so much for posting it and causing me to dream just a bit. xx's

  2. Marsh, It was lovely of you to stop by, thank you. I am looking forward to October when her book is available to purchase. Baci

  3. Really a special woman, with personal style and nontransferable

    1. Fatima, Thank you for stopping by and leaving a lovely comment. So glad you liked the post. Happy New Years to you! All the best, Rié


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