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The “fenice del Monte Cervino”

14 July 2023

Villa Bacchini, this is its original name, was one of the few villas built in the Cervinia area since the 1930s and was destroyed in 1980 by the confluence of two avalanches. Following this event, the Valle d’Aosta Autonomous Region arranged several interventions, which offered the possibility of protecting the area and rebuilding the villa.

The owners at that time, the Bacchini family, chose not to start with the reconstruction and sold what remained of the structure to the Harrison family of London, who bought it to restore the house to its former glory. The exterior of the villa was protected and the reconstruction project – followed by Studio Bettiol Architecture by Arch. Mariapia Bettiol’s Studio from Aosta in collaboration with the interior contractor Concreta from Valtellina – necessarily had to take this aspect into account. It was no problem for the Harrison family to rebuild the villa as it was. The new owners were literally fascinated by the old photos reproducing its façade as well as also the famous gardens that surrounded it and which had aroused great interest among Cervinia’s visitors, including Maria Josè Savoia.

The Harrisons’ intent was to rebuild the villa and to revive the ancient splendour that surrounded it: to date the villa building has been finished, while the garden is still in process. To signify the commitment to revive this historic building and its magical garden from its ashes, the owners have renamed it La Fenice del Monte Cervino (The Phoenix of the Matterhorn). The building extends over 1200 square meters on six levels including the basement, where the technical rooms are located. Seven double rooms have been created, as well as a larger living room and a more reserved one, a kitchen that can also be used by guests, a dining room and a buffet area. The design concept by Architect Bettiol and her team is based on the use of stone and exposed wood as a tradition in the mountains, but at the same time combining rustic, old wood and stone, with rich and modern materials like velvets and crystals. This modern combination is complemented by a neoclassical touch.

There are two Master Bedrooms, two Mini Suites on the second floor on either side of the elevator shaft and a King Suite on the top floor. In the middle floor, four double bedrooms with shower and private bathroom are all equipped with a small walk-in closet. Each room has a different colour on the tones of leather and velvets, while wool curtains recall the Alpine tradition in both the colours and designs. An entrance obtained under the glazed swimming pool through which you pass coming from the garage welcomes guests upon their arrival at the Chalet. Here, mood lights frame the door, up to the explosion of light from the swimming pool with the game of colours created by the water. Passing through a corridor of antique larch wood panelling, you reach the elevator shaft where, through a large glass door, you can admire the Ski Room which was conceived as the old choirs of Christian basilicas, with mahogany wood and upholstered thrones of cardinal red capitonné leather, surmounted by a scenic crystal chandelier in coloured nuances.

The Spa has a large indoor swimming pool with sauna and Turkish steam room, with an ice bucket very popular with guests, with an outdoor whirlpool surrounded by snow. On the same floor as the Spa there is the gym, the games room and the massage room, all concentrated on the ground floor. The villa is unique, nothing surrounds it and it stands majestically against a rocky wall framed by the Grandes Murailles. The intervention was much appreciated by the community of Cervinia because it brought back to life a structure that for almost half a century had been part of the architectural identity of the place and that could have been lost forever.

The close collaboration in the project and implementation phase of the works between the Architect Bettiol’s Studio and the Valtellinese contractor Concreta, as well as their renowned professional skills, have been a guarantee of a precise understanding of the peculiarities expressed by this structure – that is in many ways unique – and the full compliance of the final result with the Client’s expectations.

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