THE URBAN DEVELOPMENT over the seaside
This trend of the wealthy families to commission second houses was driven by the construction of the coastal railway in 1863, which was built over the coast because of engineering and economic problems. The coastal railway determined a general move of the urban settlement towards the coast and a marked increase in tourism. It was a match point for our city. During these years Grottammare became a popular holiday resort and gave impulse to the constructions of cottages in Marino Avenue, which is Colombo Avenue today, realized by Mayor Ricciotti and Engineer Concetti in 1890.
In 1909 engineer Attilio Pignocchi developed an urban project to regulate the construction of cottages and mansions over the coast. His plan was to divide the acreage in small quadrangular allotments, where the Matricardi cottage places itself in 1913. It was the summer residence of Giuseppe Maria Matricardi, entrepreneur and engineer from Ascoli Piceno.
The cramped dimension of the allotment made the buildings raise in vertical high, with decorative turrets, seascapes and small gardens for relaxing moments. The particulars and decorative motifs of many of these mansions reveal clear signs of the Art Nouveau, which affects the whole coast of the region named Piceno, especially Grottammare and Porto San Giorgio.
The Matricardi Cottage was designed by the architect and engineer Cesare Bazzani (Rome 1873-1939), member of the Superior Council of Fine Arts, who was engaged in the project of the palace of the Cassa di Risparmio in Ascoli Piceno during that period (1913), in collaboration with engineer Matricardi himself. Bazzani managed to adorn in an original way the buildings, through the use of the same majolica that the owner of the cottage used to produce. Its realization has greatly influenced the local planning dynamics with the introduction of new constructive and decorative elements: not only the majolica, but also the turret roof-terrace, the plaster finishes and the paintings. The buildings constitutes a meaningful example of the Liberty architecture in the Marche region.
The date of realization is indicated on the west side, where a writing is chiselled on a platform of the turret and relates: «GMM/XX-VIII/MCMXIII», which means: «Giuseppe Maria Matricardi – August 20th 1913». Among the majolica there is another writing: «Maioliche Matricardi – Ascoli Piceno». The external majolica were designed by Adolfo De Carolis, who was Matricardi’s co-worker. The turret is painted with a thick twist of orange trees and floral motifs, which creates a latticework in trompe l'œil of great suggestion.
It is one of the most relevant peculiarities of the building, offering a seascape and basing its structure on a Romantic park. In fact the structure is intentionally random and asymmetrical, preserving an aspect of disorder, at first glance. The garden is separated from the beach only by a simple grating and presents a typical Mediterranean vegetation: pine woods, Holm oaks, hedges of pittosporum, bay trees, palm trees and oleanders.
Translated by Raissa Baroni