Casa Bossi, a neoclassical masterpiece
Novara’s Casa Bossi is a magnificent neoclassic-style residence designed by Piedmontese architect Alessandro Antonelli, author of the famous Mole Antonelliana that has become a symbol of Turin. It was built between 1857 and 1865, and was portrayed in the famous novel “Cuore di pietra” by Sebastiano Vassalli (1941-2015):
“When the workers removed the cane grating and tore down the scaffolding, under the still warm sun of a beautiful September day, the new house finally appeared as it was: too big and too white compared to the rest of the city and the hovels around it. Some, in the small crowd, clapped their hands; others congratulated the owner, who stood aside and looked at what was supposed to become his new home shaking his head: no, no, no, as if to say he did not want anything like that. Finally, someone […] compared the new, imposing building on the outer boulevard of the city, where bastions and sentinels’ watchtowers used to be, to the Capitol Building in Washington or the Admiralty Building in Saint Petersburg…”
Casa Bossi “was – and is – a three-story, neoclassic-style villa-building whose façade is decorated with three rows of Doric columns, topped by a triangular pediment, where the attic’s terrace opens up with a window. […] It rose over the hovels around it like the home of a prince, and apparently had been built on purpose – and not so secretly – to humiliate the aristocrats of the mountain-facing city, who did not own such flashy buildings” (translated from S. Vassalli, “Cuore di pietra”, Einaudi, Turin 1996).
In 2010, the Comitato d’Amore per Casa Bossi (Love for Casa Bossi Committee) was founded “to find a suitable and sustainable destination for the monument in Novara”, which is currently suffering in terrible disrepair..