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La Casa di Pietra (House of Stone) Torrechiara, Italy

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La Casa di Pietra (House of Stone) Torrechiara, Italy

By Roberta Carra – Torrechiara, Italy

Photography by Giovanni Lunardi

Photo Gallery and Italian Version Below

It was lightening when I first saw the House of Stone and fell in love with it. The house was in very bad condition but it fascinated me, this little house of stone built at the end of the 18th century.

house-of-stone-oldThe location was stunning. At north, a rolling hill full of vineyards. At south, the river Parma. At east, the magic vision of the Castle of Torrechiara. Between those very quiet and simple hills it looks like time stopped during the 1300’s when the castle was built by Pier Maria Rossi for his beloved wife. It’s a beautiful castle on a big rock, very elegant. Not scary but it makes people dream and think of good things. When I saw the house it was 1988

house-of-stone-entryTalking to the neighbors I knew that the property was owned by the fellow who owned the vineyards. I got in touch with him telling him that I was ready to buy the house. The man decided to let me visit the property but said he would never sell it because it was his special place to view the vineyard valley.

house-of-stone-patioThe old man was very hard to deal with, gruff and set in his ways. He told me the story of this old house that used to be a small inn and a gathering place for travelers. People would stop to eat, drink and dance. The ground floor of the house was occupied now as a barn. Upstairs was the kitchen with an old wood burning oven. They even stored hay there for the cows as well.

house-of-stone-roberta-carraI spent a complete afternoon with the man and eventually we became friends. But I understood it would not be easy to convince him to sell the house. My husband, Giorgio was also dubious. An old and decrepit home while we were living in a beautiful villa with much land. A big difference. I continued to visit the old man many times and one day he offered me a little branch with flowers saying he would try to sell me the house. But he was asking too much money.

house-of-stone-living-roomI spent a year and a half before we came to an agreement and could buy the house. That was just the first step. The second step, rebuilding the house, was just as difficult. So we began in 1996 rebuilding the house. My uncle was an engineer and provided much help. We spent a year and a half just cleaning the stone. We managed to keep all of the exterior stone and wood. We built a new foundation, installed new windows while keeping the original structure intact. Camillo Bianchi, a famous architect, helped us make the interior flow.

house-of-stone-dining-room-windowFrom there on out every year we did something new; the garden, swimming pool and so on. We enjoyed living there and building at the same time. So now we have been here ten years. The home looks great covered with ivy and vines. I was very lucky to find what I was looking for. My husband, our 2 daughters and I love the home and spend our time together in this little paradise.

Translation by Giovanni Lunardi and Ed Bertha

 

La casa di Pietra

Roberta Carra – Torrechiara, Italy

E’ stato un colpo di fulmine. Appena la vidi me ne innamorai. Sgangherata ma affascinante quella piccola casa di pietra di fine ottocento si trovava in una posizione sorprendente. A nord ed a ovest un morbido declivio di vigne, a sud il greto del torrente Parma e a est la magica visione del castello di Torrechiara.

Li, tra quelle dolci e rasserenanti colline, pare che il tempo si sia fermato all’epoca del quattrocentesco maniero fatto costruire da Pier Maria Rossi per la sua amata. Una rocca altera ed elegante che non domina ne incombe ma rassicura e fa sognare.

Era il 1988. Subito mi informai e seppi che apparteneva al proprietario del vigneto sovrastante. Lo contattai, chiesi un incontro manifestando l’interesse all’acquisto della casa di pietra.
 
Accettò di farmi visitare la proprietà, dichiarando però che non aveva nessuna intenzione di privarsi di ciò che soleva definire il “ suo amato balcone”. Era un uomo anziano, burbero e deciso,di quelle persone a cui è difficile andare a genio. Mi raccontò la storia di quel vecchio rustico. Posto sull’antico sentiero di querce secolari che un tempo conduceva al castello, era stato per molti anni una locanda dove i viandanti si fermavano per rinfocillarsi e dove  a volte ballavano al suono di una fisarmonica.

Il piano terra della casa era occupato da una piccola stalla, mentre il soggiorno e la cucina erano al piano superiore dove ancora esisteva un vecchio forno a legna per cuocere il pane. Un grande fienile serviva per custodire fieno e attrezzi.

Trascorremmo insieme un piacevole pomeriggio e forse gli piacqui perché nell’accomiatarsi mi invitò a ritornare quando l’avessi voluto.

Capii allora che avrei potuto convincerlo, ma che non sarebbe stato facile. Così come non sarebbe stato facile convincere Giorgio, mio marito, ad acquistare quel vecchio rudere. Allora abitavamo in una bella villa antica e con un grande parco,ma tra me e lei non c’era mai stato un grande feeling.

Ritornai alcune volte dall’anziano signore e diventammo amici e un giorno, mentre camminavamo nel bosco di ciliegi selvatici, mi disse porgendomi un piccolo ramo fiorito che aveva deciso di accontentarmi. Doveva aver capito che avrei curato con la sua stessa passione e con il suo stesso amore quella casa, quel bosco e quella vigna.

Ma concludere non fu affatto semplice.

La prima somma richiesta fu veramente eccessiva. Ricordo che a stento trattenni le lacrime e che, demoralizzata, lasciai passare ancora un anno prima di tornare alla carica. Poi finalmente concordammo una cifra accessibile e Giorgio generosamente me la regalò.

Il primo traguardo era stato raggiunto ma ora restava la parte più dispendiosa cioè la ristrutturazione.

Dovetti pazientare ancora qualche anno prima di concretizzare il mio progetto. Poi finalmente nel 1996 grazie all’intervento di uno zio ingegnere che assicurò la sua direzione, iniziammo i lavori.

Lo stato iniziale del rustico era veramente pietoso, i muri una volta ripuliti dai rampicanti che li ricoprivano, presentavano grosse crepe ma erano completi, il portico invece era completamente diroccato.

Sono state fatte grandi opere di consolidamento alle fondamenta, poi rinforzati i muri e si è mantenuta inalterata la struttura originale della casa.

Tutti i pavimenti esistenti sono stati  tolti e poi rimessi, così pure ogni porta e ogni maniglia. I grandi travi portanti sono stati conservati perché ancora  sani, mentre i travetti sono stati rimpiazzati con altri nuovi, ma uno speciale trattamento li ha così ben invecchiati che è impossibile riconoscere la loro epoca.

Ci affidammo poi per alcuni consigli all’architetto Camillo Bianchi, grande professionista e grande amico, che ebbe il merito di renderla bella e confortevole.

Mentre procedevano i lavori cominciammo anche a sistemare il giardino, ma si sa per questo ci vuole tempo e pazienza, anche perché le nuove piante in quel argilloso terreno da vigna hanno fatto una gran fatica ad ambientarsi.

Ora vivo qui da dieci anni, il giardino è rigoglioso, la vite americana ha coperto buona parte dei muri, tutto sembra sempre essere stato così e in autunno, la stagione che io preferisco, i colori rossi gialli, e arancio delle vigne e del bosco si mescolano in una armonia stupefacente.

Sono stata molto fortunata perché ho trovato quel che cercavo e soprattutto sono molto felice perché anche Giorgio e le mie due figlie amano quanto me questo nostro piccolo paradiso.

Copyright © 2010 REAL Magazine

Photography used under license from Giovanni Lunardi

Photography Copyright © 2010 Giovanni Lunardi

Links to this article are encouraged

 

 

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