My daughter and I have passed this villa so many times during our walks, especially during fall because the grass in not so tall and we can walk till very near the house (it’s deserted almost all the time).
Last april we made an exception when we heard that the owner, Mr Tedeschi (the villa is called Levi-Tedeschi) was opening it just for one day, thanks to a special occasion….the return of Claudia Cardinale to Parma, fifty-five years after the shooting of the film which established her status symbol. She was 22 years old at the time, and Parma Municipality thought of an entire day dedicated to her, the opening of the villa and the celebration of the anniversary with a screening of the “Girl With A Suitcase” (in 1961 presented in competition at the 14th Cannes Film Festival) at the Regio Theatre.
Director Zurlini made her go back and forth, back and forth, the suitcase in hand, in the evenings, along the driveway up to the front steps of the house. To get the perfect scene. The interpretation and the stage presence of Claudia Cardinale in “The Girl with a Suitcase” still excites critics and moviegoers. The villa in which the story takes place – the location chosen by the film director Valerio Zurlini for filming in 1960 – still enchants aesthetes and worshipers of beauty. And film crews, after his inspiration.
Today, more than half a century later, Villa Levi-Tedeschi continues to stand out in its neoclassical elegance in a rectangle of green survived just outside the city, challenging, along the Via Emilia, the sign of McDonald’s, the reflecting windows of a bank and the gray facades of other anonymous buildings……
Villa Levi-Tedeschi has been declared a national monument, so precious that shooting were made strictly on the outside, to protect the rooms and everything still contained in them. The villa was opened by the lawyer Guido Uberto Tedeschi, its owner, along with his daughter Elena, ready to answer all the questions during the visit to the family estate, where they still spend a few weeks a year with the family, living only in the east wing.
We had to be very careful, however, where to put our feet and how to move around, everything here is priceless. Because the villa – explains Guido Uberto Tedeschi and Elena – it was built by Gazzola (although some continue to attribute it to Bettoli) between 1822 and 1825, for the bankers Laurent , bankers of the Duchess Maria Luigia of Austria, who used it for parties and receptions. And used also by the Duchess herself to spend days of pleasure with his beloved Neipperg, when their relationship had to be discreet. To call the servants, the two used bells with their names on it. Electric bells: one of the first plants ever made.
Among the rooms so heavily decorated, with walls covered with hand-painted paper, elegant furniture, opulent chandeliers and ceilings painted with mythological scenes, they consumed the ducal voluptas. Then, one day, everything stopped with the collapse of the bankers. The villa was auctioned and it was sold to Michele Levi-Tedeschi. His daughter, Maria Portalupi in Tedeschi, grandmother of Guido Uberto, was the hostess at the time of shooting of the film.
It was really a bless to have heard of this possibility, because it was a unique chance to see the inside of the villa, being it a private residence……And I fell in love with this bathroom…..