Recently I wrote of Villa de Vecchi, a beautiful abandoned building I came across through an image shared on facebook. I not only fell in love with the building but also wanted to discover the story of the original owners. Since writing this post I have traveled further in my quest to find the “truth” and been lucky enough to meet many others with the same passion.
The interior of Villa de Vecchi is simply stunning and I can imagine how sumptuous it must have been in it’s day. With so many details and intricate moldings, patterned walls, and vivid color still visible the house still holds traces of it’s former elegance.
That the house speaks to so many and draws them to visit intrigues me. What has somebody see an image online and then plan over years to visit in person. To not only achieve that dream but record the visit so beautifully.
The images I fell in love with while researching were all copyright so I didn’t share them. Imagine my delight when I found out that Jeff Kerwin was the photographer. He came across the story and left me a comment, a new friendship was formed. We certainly share a love of photography and abandoned places. He travels to Italy regularly and his passion is clear. Another friendship formed through an unusual coincidence.
Jeff has very kindly given me permission to share these images and I have selected a small number from his incredible archive. As he says
“I live in Washington, DC but my heart belongs to Italia. Especially the Mezzogiorno (southern Italy). Napoli stole my heart and Sicilia blew my mind.”
“I am honored to be featured on your blog, Lisa. I apologize for not getting around to telling you sooner how I discovered Villa de Vecchi and came to visit it. I’ll do so now. I first saw a pic of it on Flickr maybe 4 years ago, in one of the many groups devoted to abandoned places or “beautiful decay.” I don’t think the pic provided the name of the villa, and it certainly didn’t indicate where it was. I did not even know that it was in Italy, though if I had to guess, I would have have guessed Sicily. Anyway, last year sometime I discovered it again on Flickr, and this time was able to attach a name to it: Villa de Vecchi. I googled the name, thinking it probably would not reveal much. But lo and behold, I discovered just where it was (Cortenova), a story about how it was believed to be haunted, and that it really did have a dark past. At this point I already had my 2012 Italy trip all planned…my last for perhaps a few years. But I knew I was going to have to look into changing those plans. With a little help I discovered it could get to it easily enough by a bus from Lecco, one of the towns on Lake Como. So I crossed Bologna off my list, and instead went up to Milan for three nights. Early in the morning I took a train to Lecco, then a bus along winding roads up into the mountains. I often get sick to my stomach on such rides, but thankfully this time I did not. After an hour’s ride I saw a sign for Cortenova, and a minute later Villa de Vecchi, off in the distance. It damn near took my breath away. Stepping onto the grounds and then standing right in front of it made my head swim! I just couldn’t believe it was right there in front of me.“
Just typing this has brought it all back to me, as if I was just there today. Thanks for letting me relive those moments.
I hope you will visit his Flickr page and discover this very talented photographer.
Villa de Vecchi also has supporters on facebook who would welcome your interest. If you have any information or images please take a moment to contact them.