Via della Montesca, Città di Castello, (Perugia)
Villa Franchetti “La Montesca” Once an aristocratic Summer Residence built by the Barons Leopoldo and Giulio Franchetti, in the second half of the 19th century, La Montesca stands on the slope of Mount Arnato. It was built on a design of the Florentine architect Giuseppe Bocccini. The Villa dominates, from its panoramic position, the upper course of the Tiber River and the town of Città di Castello. The typical landscape of the “Valtiberina”, with its sweet hills, cultivated flat and woods frame this example of a 19th century Residence, inspired by the Renaissance and Mannerism. The Villa is divided into three bodies—the central one has three floors sided by two higher lateral tower-like wings—due to the insertion of a Florentine style covered Loggia on the roof. Today the design of the façade is punctuated by its arched portal entrance, the arches of the portico and the white stone rusticated-framed windows. The interior of the Villa is elegant, rich with sumptuous halls, paintings and sculptures of Clemente Marini, Giovanni Panti, Ernesto Bellanti and Antonio Passaglia. The complex also includes the Warden House, the Lemon-house, the Guest-quarters and the Montessori school. It was in Villa Montesca where, in 1901, a free elementary school for peasants’ children was founded. This is the place where this educational experience led by Maria Montessori—called by Alice Franchetti Hallgarten, the American wife of Senator Leopoldo Franchetti, a cultured woman with a philanthropic spirit—accomplished its first steps. The wide garden with a central pool opens in front of the house. The English Garden, a true botanical garden, is rich with a large variety of plants from America. The Villa, property of the Umbria Region, has maintained its educative function. In fact, it hosts a Center for training and research.