Villa della Torre Allegrini: a 16th-century gem
Villa della Torre Allegrini is located in Fumane, in the province of Verona. Immersed in Valpolicella – an area known for its excellent wines – it is indeed surrounded by the Palazzo della Torre vineyard, eponym of the wine included in “Wine Spectator”’s Top 100 for several years.
The residence’s layout resembles that of a Roman domus, with a central court surrounded by a peristyle with Doric capitals barely rough-hewed in stone. It all makes for a decadent and vaguely mysterious vibe, channeled by the peculiar interior decor as well.
The fireplaces are decorated with unique stucco mascarons that critics attribute to Giovan Battista Scultori – who indeed was close to the Gonzaga family’s architect Giulio Romano, widely believed to be the man behind the villa’s design. The four fireplaces are allegorical: one of them represents Satan, with angry eyes and unruly hair; the second is a roaring Lion, also a devilish representation; the third is a Unicorn, symbol of Christ and of the victory of good over evil, with three angels opening its mouth; and finally, the fourth is another Unicorn, but one of salvation, with its eyes looking up to the heavens.
The Villa and the octagonal church next to it are surrounded by gardens: a higher garden with a fishpond and arched bridge; and a lower garden, leading to a grotto that resembles a hellish cave – made with rustic boulders, it has a diabolical mascaron inside that in the shadows seems like a monstrous figure emerging from the wall, its mouth open.
Villa della Torre is definitely one of the gems of Veneto’s 16th-century architecture. Built for Giulio Della Torre, an antiques collector and writer, on a pre-existing structure from the 14th and 15th centuries, it was finished around 1545; the Della Torres kept it until the early 1800s, but then a period of decline began – reaching its worst with damages during the Second World War. In the 1950s, Girolamo Cazzola purchased it and began renovating it; finally, in 2008 it was acquired by the Allegrini family, who transformed it into the charming historical accommodation we see today, with luxurious and exclusive rooms dedicated to a clientele of connoisseurs of great wines and wonderful lifestyle.