A tour along the avenues of Milano Marittima, in search of the Art Nouveau villas, built between the sea and the pine forest, which marked the birth of the Garden City and which are still today icons of style and symbols of a resort conceived as an ideal holiday destination.
The painter and poster designer Giuseppe Palanti planned the urban planning project of Milano Marittima, taking inspiration from the theories of Ebenezer Howard, about the "Garden City", where the holiday residences had to blend perfectly with the surrounding nature.
Some of the villas that remain today are hotels or private houses that cannot be visited; however, their neo-Gothic and Art Nouveau architecture can be admired from the outside.
A 3.5km flat day tour, accessible on foot or by bicycle, for those who love to immerse themselves in the charm of history and relive the atmosphere of Milano Marittima in the early 1900s.
The first part of the tour starts from Villa Palanti and it reaches Villa “Il Pagliaio”, near the pinewood, surrounded by a big garden.
Starting from Viale 2 Giugno 72, where we can see Villa Palanti, one the seven villas built before the First World War and the only one which still today preserves its original appearance. Near the roundabout Don Minzoni stands Villa Malagola, characterized by a neo-liberty tower, while in viale Vittorio Veneto 81 we can see Villa Capanna o Capannina, with a low structure and an unusual upside down V-roof. Finally, in via Francesco Petrarca 2 there is Villa Il Pagliaio, which maintains its original structure.
In the centre of the small seaside town, we can observe Villa Maiolatesi, in Viale Gramsci 41, a typical example of neo-liberty, but it was modified over time in relation to the original project, which did not include the tower and the terrace. After that, in Viale Gramsci 4 stands Villa Carlotta, one of the first villas in Milano Marittima, today converted into an ice cream-parlor.
Finally in Via Rismondo 5 there is Villa Colmegna, chalet-style; it had a double staircase with a central entrance, it was modified in 1939 but today it appears as it did then with the staircase on the left, the central entrance and the terrace.
Let’s continue the itinerary with one of the symbols of Milano Marittima. Built just a few years after the founding of the city (1912), the five-column fountain was designed by Giancarlo Palanti (Giuseppe’s son) and inaugurated on the 29th of July 1928 in the Rotonda 1° Maggio.
Over the years, the Rotonda has undergone various modifications: the five columns which we can see today are faithful reproductions, while three of the original columns now decorate the Don Minzoni Roundabout. With its charm and its flower beds that every year are full of colours during the “Cervia Garden City” event, the Rotonda has always been the star of Milano Marittima’s life.
Finally, the last stop is in Genoa square, precisely in Via Matteotti 87, where Villa Perelli stands, a building which dates back to the 1940s. It is the most original little villa of Milano Marittima, ranging from the experimentalist style to pure rationalism, with its high columns, which are the result of the rear extensions.