HOUSE OF THE WEEK: Casa Malaparte, Capri


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Another icon of Modernism, Casa Malaparte was conceived by Adalberto Libera for Curzio Malaparte on the Island of Capri off the coast of Italy in around 1937. Malaparte rejected Libera’s design, however, and actually built it himself with the help of Adolfo Amitrano, a local stonemason. The house is constructed of brick on top of a peninsula that juts out into the sea and it is only accessible by boat on a calm day, or via a long walk from the town of Capri along steps cut into the cliffs. The house is famous for its exterior stair that forms part of the roof and its roof terrace with curved white windbreak wall.

The house was designed by Malaparte, an Italian journalist, dramatist, short-story writer, novelist and diplomat, during a time when the island became a hotbed destination for intellectuals from all over Europe, especially those with socialist tendencies such as Walter Benjamin – although perhaps the house demonstrates none of those. The house was abandoned in 1957 upon Malaparte’s death and has remained uninhabited ever since. It was donated to the Foundation Giorgio Ronchi in 1972 and is continuously cared for by its enthusiasts. Much of the original furniture is still in the house, including a sunken marble bath, because the items were too large to remove.

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