A Brief History
The Estate was built in the seventeenth century. There are traces of
its origins in the original frescoes and the wooden and marble
fireplaces located in the rooms on the first floor of the Palazzo, which
are now used as a breakfast rooms. The building, which had always been a
commercial farm, was purchased in the early nineteenth century by
Diogene Illica, father of Luigi Illica, the librettist of Puccini and
Mascagni. Diogene Illica, a notary and benefactor of
the town of Castell'Arquato who was remembered in the bronze medallion
of the largest fountain in the Arquato gardens, enlarged the stable and
the houses used as lodgings for the workers. Luigi was a famous poet who belonged to the
Scapigliatura cultural movement and was always in contact with the music
scene in Turin and northern Italy in general. His name has gone down through history as the
author, together with Giacosa, of lyrical booklets such as La Tosca,
Bohème and Manon Lescaut.
Luigi Illica inherited the estate and soon resold it to an Illica cousin who had married Amerio, the commander of Turin's infantry soldiers. He moved into the house with five sons and in 1939 emigrated with his family to Brasil. They sold the property to Giovanni Leonardi, the maternal great-grandfather of the current owner.
Illica's booklets are kept in the library.