Villa delle Ginestre

FONDAZIONE ENTE VILLE VESUVIANE


Villa delle Ginestre

C lose to the Vesuvius, in a beautiful panoramic position, dominated on one side by the power of the volcano and on the other by the Gulf of Naples, stands Villa delle Ginestre that hosted Giacomo Leopardi in the last years of life. The Villa was built at the end of the seventeenth century by Canonico Simioli who set it up as a summer residence, often hosting prominent figures of Neapolitan culture such as Luigi Vanvitelli, who probably owes the design of the staircase that leads upstairs. The residence was later inherited by Simioli's niece who married Diego Ferrigni. From the marriage was born Giuseppe Ferrigni who in 1826 married Henrietta Ranieri, sister of Antonio, close friend of Leopardi. It is at this moment that the destinies of the villa are intertwined with those of the Poet: the Ferrigni made available to the Leopardi the dwelling that would offer in the meekness of the comfort climate to his poor health. Thanks to Ferrigni, lawyer and politically engaged magistrate, founder of the Minerva Napolitana authoritative periodical of Neapolitan constitutionalism, person with vast cultural interests, particularly philosophical and literary, Leopardi could be surrounded by a lively intellectual environment.

The current name of the Villa refers to one of the two operas composed by the Poet in this residence: La Ginestra, and the Sunset of the Moon. Around 1847 the Ferrigni family moved to Naples and the Villa resumed its function as a summer residence. In the late 19th century a grandson of Giuseppe Ferrigni married Adelaide Leopardi, great-grandson of the Poet and they lived briefly in the Villa where the young bride died. In 1907 Villa was bequeathed to Antonio Carafa, great-grandson of Giuseppe Ferrigni. At that time the renovation of the residence dates back with the creation of the arcade on the three sides to support the upper terrace giving the Villa the current appearance. In 1937 in the presence of King Victor Emmanuel III the villa was proclaimed a National Monument with the affixing of a memorial plaque. The property of the Villa has been owned since 1962 by Federico II University in Naples. Currently the management and enhancement of the site is entrusted to the Foundation Ente Ville Vesuviane who has created a museum path that enhances the visit to the room that hosted the poet where the structure and the historical furniture is preserved. The narration of Leopardi's neapolitan stay follows in the other rooms of the first floor by means of visual audio languages capable of proposing to the student as the traveler.