Villas, historical residences and theaters

Villa Gandini (former villa Aggazzotti)

c/o Parco della Resistenza - Via Sant'Antonio, 4 - Formigine - MO

Phone: Municipal Library +39 059/416246 group visits by appointment only

The Gandinis, a noble family from Modena related to the Este court, became owners of the building in 1791; at that time it was an eighteenth-century hunting lodge, smaller than it is today. It was Pietro Gandini (1796-1875), an erudite patron and collector, who championed its transformation into the elegant classic lines of today. He commissioned the expansion project to Francesco Vandelli, architect at the service of the Dukes of Austria-Este, whose fame was linked to the new Modena Municipal Theatre, inaugurated in 1841.

Other artists from the Modena academic Restoration sector worked alongside Vandelli in the villa, again on the request of Pietro Gandini: the painter Domenico Baroni, disciple of the famous Adeodato Malatesta, responsible for the four canvases of a biblical nature in the entrance hall; the sculptor from Scandiano Luigi Mainoni, who formed the splendid bas-reliefs on the door of the reception hall; Luigi Manzini from Modena who painted the eight scenes from the bible in the gallery in the same room.

The oval ceiling in the entrance hall, which follows the ellipsoidal shape of this room, highlighted by the gallery in wrought iron, features late-neoclassic decoration with mythological, floral and bucolic themes, in line with the villa’s use as a summer holiday home. Musical elements meanwhile allude to the passion for music of some members of the family, such as the composer Alessandro Gandini.

A second stage of work was commissioned by Pietro’s nephew, Count Luigi Alberto Gandini (1827 - 1906), who inherited the villa in 1871. Luigi Alberto, renowned for having set up the famous collection of ancient fabrics later donated to the Modena Civic Museum, of which he was also the director, commissioned Andrea Becchi, decorator and stage designer from the school in Carpi, with décor for the oval dining-room and reception room. In the dining-room, Becchi gave free rein to his flair as an interior decorator, designing the elegant oak furniture and the frescos on parts of the walls and the ellipsoidal ceiling, following an overall furnishing project that he also used in other important buildings in Carpi and Modena.

The latest work dates back to the sixties when the last owner commissioned the Modena painter Uber Coppelli with four paintings depicting views for the reception room, to replace the seventeenth-century canvases with their biblical and evangelical themes by the Bologna-born artist Girolamo Negri, known as Boccia, and a pair of canvases with hunting scenes, hung over doors.
Outside, a tennis court and swimming pool were added. In the seventies, the villa was sold by the Aggazzotti family to the Municipal Administration, which turned it into the Municipal Library.