The headquarters of the Istituto Superiore di Studi Musicali, Conservatorio “Giacomo Puccini”, consists of a prestigious periodbuilding in the city center, called Villa Majno and owned by the Municipality of Gallarate. A brief architectural and historical description is outlined here below.
Villa Majno, whch was projected by the architect Carlo Moroni, is considered one of the precious assets of the Municipality of Gallarate. The first Nulla Osta request for the construction of a villa for residential use dates back to 1905: the villa had a single access from via Alessandro Volta; the current fireplace room (now “Sala Pergolesi”) was divided into two communicating rooms, while the staircase that connected the two floors was located in the middle of the current corridor; on the first floor there were the bedrooms in the sleeping area and the bathrooms. The garden was designed with flowerbeds and paths different from the present ones.
In the 1920s, substantial changes were made by the subsequent owner: the building was extended towards the railway line byadding a colonnade at the entrance, which was also necessary to support the loggia on the upper floor; the wall that divided the entrance from the hall (now “Sala Mozart”, a small auditorium for concerts, events and exams), was replaced with stained glass windows and the hall was significantly enlarged. The staircase was demolished and rebuilt with fine finishes in its current position; a loggia and another covered access were added on the opposite side, other rooms were created and the services doubled.
The last changes took place in 1930: a room on the ground floor, the restoration of the access from via Volta and the creation of a room with a veranda on the upper floor.
The villa had interior finishes of considerable value, most of them still present, though in less than optimal conditions: each room had a wooden flooring with a decorated border, the entrances and corridors were in grit decorated with mosaic; each door had an over door and a wooden frame decorated with polychrome leaded windows and brass handles; most of the rooms had walls covered with silk brocade and silk damask upholstery, which were raised off the floor by decorated wooden wainscot, and ceilings decorated with stucco and paintings; the corridors, punctuated by decorated pilasters, had wrought iron windows.
The building then remained closed and unused until the Municipality of Gallarate, its last heir, decided to use it temporarily as an office. Unfortunately, the deterioration was destined to continue and was aggravated by thefts of some original valuable furnishings.
The restoration project included minimal interventions: the refurbishment of the roofs; the creation of standard toilets, theinstallation of the boiler; the restoration of wooden and wall decorations, floors and artistic windows. Moreover, the garden has been cleaned and the flowerbeds and main paths restored. The restoration took place under the supervision of the Superintendency of Fine Arts, which cares of both the villa and the garden.