Funerary Monument of Antona Traversi

Detail of the front dedicatory of the funerary monument of Antona Traversi (ISAL Photo Archive)
Detail of the front dedicatory of the funerary monument of Antona Traversi (ISAL Photo Archive)

The funerary monument of Antona Traversi is now the only existing testimony of the different buildings and ruins that studded the garden in the 19th century, from the Caffehaus, to the Temple of Hymen and the Yew Cabin. The monument was constructed to commemorate Giovanni Battista Traversi who died at 78 years old in 1900, as remembered in the second epigraph written on the lower end of the south side of the monument. Its design and construction were assigned between the 1900 and 1903 to the Milanese architect, Luca Beltrami, who resorted to a symbolic elaboration for the monument, which was anything but simple.

This was intended as a posthumous gesture of gratitude by nephew, Giovanni Antona Traversi who inherited his uncle’s surname as well as a huge fortune.
The monument has a simple structure of neoclassical inspiration also designed by Luca Beltrami who thought of erecting a tomb raised by five sloping steps to form a small bridge. The front features two simple but monumental fluted half-columns with Corinthian capitals, leaning against two fluted pillars with a rectangular base visible on the sides. The columns support a high band of the entablature and a tympanum with a central cross. A funerary relief characterizes the façade facing the Villa: a small altar on a base with garlands and ribbons. The smooth surface of the monument is decorated with three bands festooned with garlands, which continues on the back. The central part between the two side pillars, interspersed with two small symmetrical central pillars to hold up the entablature with a pediment, is left “in the wind.”
The monument is now heavily damaged and needs some restoration to remove some signs left by vandals who were disrespectful towards the place and the memory of Desio. It would likewise require a cultural evaluation that would include the real value of this simple mausoleum of historical and inspirational reminiscences linked with the neoclassical revival.