Picture two sisters leaving la Scala in Milan one evening of thick fog. Trying to find their way to their hotel, they stumble across a for sale sign on a large plot of land in the middle of the city. In spite of the dark and unknown surroundings, their hearts make a surprising decision. The plot would be theirs.
This is the beginning of one of the most exceptional villas in Milan inhabited until 2001 by one of its original owners, the Villa Necchi Campiglio. In 1932, Gigina Necchi, married to Angelo Campiglio, and her sister Nedda, commissioned the work of the house to Piero Portaluppi. He was a local architect of renown and a figure who reflected the conflicting political and social undercurrents of the period. He was given free rein to design a villa that displayed the status of the occupants, a wealthy family of industrialists from Pavia. They imposed only two requirements: a state of the art functional habitat and the use of the best materials of construction. The result is a sublime example of late modernist architecture, infused by touches of Art Deco and the purity of rational architecture. The light flows into the house through large rectangular windows and the spaces reveal strong geometric forms only tempered by fine decorative details. It is majestic and sober at the same time.
Unfortunately a few years after finishing the construction, the monumental building overwhelmed the Necchi Campiglio who rushed to temper the impression by asking another architect Tomasso Buzzi to adapt the interiors to a more conservative eighteen century taste. The conflictive and unresolved association of two opposing styles is still on view today. After the death of Gigina and in the absence of heirs, the villa passed into the hands of the Fondo Ambiente Italiano, an institutional network of historic buildings that opened it to the general public. Its allure remains intact hypnotically entrancing the visitor. It is one the hidden treasures of the city.