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Going back to 1877, it was then customary for owners of vineyards with olives (the so called “coltura di successione”, i.e. combined cultivations) to move to the country with their families for the harvesting period: many of them produced wine on the spot and some had the equipment for oil extraction as well.
Houses were not far away from one another, so that meetings and visits frequently occurred. It was a kind of life with mixed aspects – rural and urban – which induced and maintained good relations among friends.
Don Gaetano Uva had just completed the installation of vines and olives when he had the fortunate chance of meeting the architect Giuseppe Barone from Baronetto, in the province of Catanzaro, who taught at the University of Naples.
A bond of trust and pleasant affinity was established between the two, which led to a concrete project: Don Gaetano commissioned to Giuseppe Barone (don Peppino) the task of transforming his dream into reality: a beautiful country mansion. Architect Barone had a fine taste and a fertile imagination: he visited Lucera and studied its history, and from his project emerged the building which later would have become “Villa Uva”, with that particular Moorish halo which underlines its atmosphere and makes it the most beautiful and harmonious mansion of the area.
In 1882, on a clear day of late spring, the Villa was inaugurated, and since then there have been many opportunities of meetings among the alleys or in the welcoming halls, on the terrace to enjoy enchanted sunsets behind the gently shaped profiles of sub-apennine hills,… or the restful sight of the sea of olives which expands up to the margin of the town …. or the view of the superb castle of emperor Friedrich the Second, at the feet of which Lucera peacefully expanded. Good old times ….
When don Gaetano passed away, his daughters succeeded him. They continued to frequent the Villa up to the second world war. Then there came the occupation first by German troups and later by the allied troups – and the Villa paid dearly for it! It remained shut for years until the owners decided to sell it and chose a new owner: they offered it to the Darco friends.
The Villa was restored as it was before with love and competence, and it started living again as a symbol of hospitality and friendship. This state of things lasted a few decades until it was visited by burglars who ruined it, taking everything: furniture, equipment, even the stone washbasin and watering trough and the steps. Even the tiles were removed! Once again the Villa remained shut.
In 2006 Dr. Darco passed away and his wife decided to continue to take care of the land and of the olives, which had been her husband’s great passion, and as soon as it could be done, willing not to transmit ruins as a heritage and with the precious collaboration of her nephew Duccio, she brought back the Villa to its original splendor.
And here it is, at the end of the fine boxwood alley, full of light and appealing, ready to be, as always, open to friends from yesterday and today and to whoever wishes to enjoy its hospitality and take part in its life. ….it is now 2012