The Giacomo Matteotti House Museum
The Giacomo Matteotti House Museum was set up under Law 255/2004 and has been nominated as an important cultural location (according to art.10, comma 3 letter d of the Cultural Heritage Code) in that it maintains elements of the daily family life of one of the protagonists of 20th century history.
Giacomo Matteotti lived in this house, and after his death it continued to be the family home for his mother Isabella Garzarolo, his widow Velia Titta and his children Giancarlo, Matteo and Isabella. It was renovated according to the previously mentioned law 225/2004, and it was left by the children to the Accademia dei Concordi, while it is managed by the Fratta town council, according to an agreement between the owners and the town council drawn up on 26/6/2010. It was opened to the public in 2012. The town council deliberated on 13/6/ 2006 that there should be an advisory scientific committee to manage it, and on 21/3//2012 that there should be a set of regulations, including a Director. All these jobs are done by volunteers.
The agreement signed in 2016 with the History Department of the University of Padua (DiSSGea) ensures the scientific et accademic connections needed by the Home Museum.
The small side door has a symbol in relief with the motto which Matteotti chose also for his headed notepaper: foris pugnae intus timores (without were fightings within were fears), taken from the New Testament, St Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians.
The building can be found in the Veneto Land Registry (1775) as a two storey house with the main entrance on the south facade, two windows on both sides, and two windows on both floors of the house on the east facing side. Later land registries during the Napoleonic era (1808-1810) and the the Austrian (later Austro-Italian) have a building divided into three parts, each with its own garden. Girolamo Matteotti, Giacomo’s father, became the sole owner of the property in 1895.The extension of the building can be dated back to the first decades of the 20th century. This consisted of a loggia of concrete pillars, used to store tools (now the entrance to the Museum), and a balcony, with a concrete decorated balustrade on the first floor. The villa and garden are surrounded by a wall with pedestrian and vehicle entrances.
The architecture is that of a country villa: a large central hall, with rooms leading off from both sides and the staircase between floors. The three floors of the building are defined by the rectangular or octagonal windows on each side and each floor, including the second-attic floor. Stone is used in the facade, to outline the rounded arch door on the ground floor and the one on the first floor, which opens onto a small balcony. Stone has also been used on the window sills of the north and south facades.
Renovation work included emergency stairs and a lift to the left of the main building. Each facade has a Greek-style fret, made of pre-fabricated concrete elements, positioned at the level of the second floor ceiling, showing the division of the floors. The pavilion roof has a plastered brick cornice which provides a decoration to the upper part of the house. The four main chimneys can be seen on the north and south facades.
The garden and driveway are protected as cultural heritage representing a typical rural landscape. On the left we can see indigenous plants (poplars, cypresses, plane trees) while on the left there are adventitious plants: pine, fir and sequoia trees.
Giacomo lived in this house with his parents, his wife Velia Titta (1890-1938) who he married in civil ceremony in 1916, and with their children: Giancarlo (1918-2006), Matteo (1921-2000) who were both social-democratic politicians, and Isabella (1922-1994). Matteotti’s body was laid out in the main room of the ground floor, after his coffin was brought by train at dawn on 21 August 1924, and the funeral procession left from here for the burial in the local cemetery.
The Museum-House is where the annual ceremony is held to commemorate the murder of Giacomo Matteotti. It also houses a exhibition of photographs and documents (in digital version too) concerning the life and tragic death of the politician. There are also conferences held there, revolving around this protagonist of the early 20th century, a paladin of democracy, freedom of thought and social justice.
The House Museum has multimedia which gives visitors a varied approach to the figure of Matteotti and the place he lived in.
Maria Lodovica Mutterle
(…) Coming back to these rooms where we shared our first emotions gives me a feeling of great melancholy which I can’t overcome. I can still see you in the kitchen or garden and want to wait for you there as I always did. The children are always asking me where you are (…)
Letter from Velia to Giacomo , Fratta Polesine, 16th May 1923