The brightly painted southern façade of the Vetralla building was very much like this castle. With its four levels of gardens and enormous size (85 rooms plus two towers) it was so imposing that it was featured on many contemporary postcards.
By the next year Olga Matteini Canonica was already married to the heir of the Piatti fortune, Flaminio, and mother of a child. Their first home was the huge Palazzo Piatti in Vetralla with its sumptuous gardens decorated with a series of marble busts which have since disappeared, while the round stone table and stools still decorate the gardens.
Olga set up a nursery school on the first floor where the children learned drawing and music. We cannot know what rhymes and songs they sang but we can still admire the colorful designs that decorated the walls here and in the conservatory (limonaia).
The cypress avenues, landscapes, towers, churches and a striped cat are similar to those pictures Olga painted and dedicated to her Maestro in 1916 and others done later and signed “Olga Piatti” and “Olga Canonica Piatti” which are conserved at the Museo di Roma and the Museo Canonica in Villa Borghese.
After a century of neglect and degradation caused by the war and lack of maintenance by later owners , the painted palazzo and its luxuriant gardens again enjoy the sound of music thanks to the new owners and their association, Opera Extravaganza which spreads the joy of classical music, art and opera.
Discover the whole story in “The Painted Palazzo-Palazzo Dipinto “ in English and Italian, Etruria Editions/Archeoares, 2017.
Copies available in local bookshops, directly from Etruria Editions.
Mary Jane Cryan, 2020