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Association

The President: Matteo Bruzzo

The Vice President: Giovanni Battista Crosa di Vergagni

Foundation Members: Elena Bruzzo Roasenda, Giacomo Bruzzo jr, Luigi Croce, Carlo Croce, Marcello Mari, Giorgio Mezzadri, Corrado Papone, Max Rabino.

Thank with heartfelt gratitude all the people and the institutions that have contributed in helping to start, to proceed with and conclude the restoration works on the residence.

When we were children, my father used to take my brother Benedetto, my sister Laura and me to visit our aunt at Christmas and Easter. She was Giuseppina Podestà, the very old daughter-in-law of the famous mayor, the one of the avenue, Andrea. I remember her, dressed in violet, with a velvet ribbon around her neck, seated in a dark and sad sitting room, as I imagined were all widows.

Shortly before I got married, my father started some structural consolidation works on the building and he made changes to the top floor where I went to live with my wife.
So, everyday, for years, I saw the facade, the entrance, the large hall and, at the back the nymphaeum all with an olive brown colour: every thing seemed to be silent and sober, decadent and dignified but...so sad.

I wanted light. Then slowly something changed.

New tenants arrived, kind and skilled restorers. With their help we started to chip off the paint covering the hall and, slowly but surely, a marvellous bluish grey appeared. Like the dawn of a new day. This discovery turned up the enthusiasm and so we continued in the passageway and along the stairs. Lunettes appeared with ships and unfurled sails: everything suggested journeys and exploration. A siren's invitation! One day three new characters appeared: a slim, eccentric lady with an Anglo-American accent and a disillusioned German intellectual, introduced by a kind and sympathetic escort. They were Mary Newcome and Erich Schleier, outstanding experts, and their friend Beppe Merlano. They told a complex story where the names of Strozzi, Aizeri, Centurione, Pallavicini and other mysterious experts whose names did not mean anything to me, intermingled with each other, at times in a rather confused way.

A hole was made in the ceiling of an apartment on the first state floor, it had been rented for years, and was now being used as a store: a sudden ray of light sent a stupendous bright red flash, the famous Strozzi red! We were all overtaken by a sort of frenzy, a happy madness: rediscover the past, shed light on to the history of those rooms and then the whole building. We decided to start the works, to clean the facade, the internal court, the nymphaeum, the garden..then an old friend, absent for years, made his return. I do have to confess when I think about the rediscovered Strozzi works, I feel sorry to have disturbed the silence and the rest of those beautiful figures, painted by the artist, unaware and impassive portrayed in gestures which will remain the same forever; then I console myself in believing that they too are pleased to see how the residence has returned to its original beauty and to note how many curious people come to admire them. It makes me happy to think that they too are a bit vain.

Therefore I want to say thanks for the determination and energy with which my wife Elena initiated and followed the works. Without her so many lights would not have been lit. I do not want to avoid the usual civil gesture of thanking all those who have helped me in the whole project, in the restoration and the drafting of the book that will remain as a testimony. Therefore a thank you to Mary Newcome Schleier, to Gianni Bozzo, to Francesco Tomasinelli and Beppe Merlano, to the planners and directors of the works, to the restorers Giacomo Causa and Stella Boj, with special regard for their two assistants, Daniela Russo and Marco Parodi, exceptional in their competence and common sense. A special thanks to Max Rabino for the help he gave us.

Matteo Bruzzo

 

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