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The charming collection of Villa St. Luca

Ospedaletti is a small town which hides an international treasure, often unknown to the general public. This is Villa St. Luca, home of the art professor and collector Luigi Anton Laura and his wife Renata Salesi, called Nera, donated in 2002 by the owners to the FAI along with its precious collection of decorative art, a unique heritage now accessible to anyone who wishes to visit it.

Three floors of a villa which house a looked-after and prestigious collection of nearly six thousand works of art, the imaginative and creative testimony of over fifty years of research around the world, of studies, trades with antique merchants, years of an adventurous life and passion shared by Laura and his wife, fine art experts and representatives of a world of well-known faces of the aristocracy, but also of simple sharing between friends.

The collection of items is characterized not so much by a specific character, but by the wealth of history, fashion, and inner qualities of each piece collected around the world. The exotic charm of this collection is inextricably linked to the figures of the professor and his wife. An art student in Florence and later professor of art history and architectural design, Laura discovers the world of collecting prized antiques, a passion to which he dedicated a gallery opened in the English and aristocratic San Remo in the fifties.

Immersed in this world of wonders and stories, adventures, characters, it is not at all strange to imagine Italo Calvino fascinated and inspired by the stories that Laura often told him: it is likely that some of the oriental atmospheres of “Invisible Cities” were brought to life right in the rooms of Villa San Luca, enlarged and pressed on by memories told by the brilliant storyteller-collector.

[Alessandra Chiappori]

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