Historical Houses

Portofino, a World apart
March 2008

Villa Costa – Lo Faro

The villa Costa Lo Faro, in a floral style whose tower is visible from almost every part of Santa Margherita Ligure, is a “historic villa” that constructed in 1898 by Giuseppe Costa. The design is by Antonio Revelli, same architect who realized the facade the sanctuary of Mon tallegro. In addition to the original owners who lit there at first before moving to Genoa, fir villa has been the home of a number important names in Roman nobilit. Among these were the Centurione family, and then from 1912 to 1917, the princess Colonna di Stiliano, who was president of the Italian Red Cross. Due to the financial problems of Giuseppe Costa, the villa was sold to the Lo Faro brothers in 1922. Their father, a musician of Sicilian origin, came to Genoa for the festivities celebrating the four hundredth anniversary of Columbus’s discovery of America in 1892.

His sons,Vittorio and Giovanni, became important industrialists in Genoa. Vittorio, a friend of Gaslini had a liberal and philanthropic spirit, creating scholarships and giving donations to hospitals. He was also very generous with his employees For example, at the beginning of every winter he instituted “the month of the overcoat” in which he bought a winter coat for everyone. He was also a patron of the arts, welcoming many artists into his home, which was adorned with many works of art. The well-known sculptor Francesco Messina, also a Sicilian, did a lot of work for his friend Vittorio Lo Faro. In the parlors of the house, which were frequented by many famous people of the day, we find many busts made by the great sculptor. Giovanni Lo Faro, brother of Vittorio, was also an industrialist. He took particular care of the park and grounds around the villa endowing them with mediterranean and mountain flowers. The park is characterized by well kept paths surrounded by splendid high trees, all wisely cared for and maintained perfectly. These paths pass under artficial grottos done in an eclectic style of the era, and then lead to the beautiful knolls that face the sea in a romantic style.

Giovanni’s son, Piero, a distinguished pianist, regularly used the magnificent parlors of his home to play host to figures from the world of letters such as Salvator Gotta. Famous musicians were also his guests, among these were Gian Luigi Gavazzeni, Mario Rossi, and Franco Poulain For M.O. Victor De Sabata, Piero had great admiration and filial affection. De Sabata, in turn, held Piero grand esteem. Even when he was ill he would never miss Piero’s concerts. When Victor was in his last days at health retreat of Villa Attilia, Piero made assiduous visits right up until the moment of his passing. In the winter parlor, from which one can enjoy one of the most beautiful panoramic views of the gulf, Piero Lo Faro would organize benefit concerts. In addition to playing himself, the best italian and foreign pianists participated.

Portofino, a World apart.

From Pippy lo Faro, Sept 28,2009

My husband Piero and i have just read your write up on our villa and comments on my husband which being written in the past tense sound as if he was no longer with us. Fortunately he is still giving recitals and is in the best of health. We suggest you put the prose in the present tense!

Best Wishes Pippy!