Hidden treasures

Carlo Scarpa’s Brion Tomb in Altivole

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Carlo Scarpa’s Brion Tomb in Altivole

Near Asolo, the reign of the queen Catherine Corner, there is a small village called Altivole... Its cemetery is renowned for containing a funeral monument built by one of the most important architects of the 20th century, Carlo Scarpa.

The monument was commissioned in 1969 by Onorina Brion Tomasin for her husband Giuseppe Brion, founder and owner of 'Brionvega', and was constructed between 1970 and 1978, the same year in which Scarpa died falling from a shop staircase in Sendai, in Japan. The project was therefore completed following the architect's original project, who was later buried inside it - a wish he had expressed in his testament.

The funerary monument's structure resembles a 'tilted L' and its parts consist of propylaea, an arcosolium (burial method typically used in catacombs), a chapel and a 'meditation hall' erected above a mirror of water.

The propylaea comprise of an asymmetrical façade, limited on the right side by a heavily modelled sept (symbol of strength), and a type of pillar on the left side (symbol of beauty).

The arcosolium consists of a rich carpet with two rows of black and white chess tiles, its middle line connecting the two graves; the sarcophagi are panelled with ebony slats.

The chapel is located in the middle of a water basin in which step-shaped cement elements are arranged.

The 'meditation hall' resembles a box in which the lower section has been removed, hence appearing to be suspended above water... it is actually supported by thin pillars with a jagged profile. The pavilion is purposely separated from the rest of the building by a door, which can be lowered underground and disappear into the water operated by a complex network of cables and pulleys, concealed from the visitor's eye.

If you happen to be in Altivole, which can be reached from Venice by a convenient private taxi service, include a stop in your trip at the 'Barco' of Catherine Corner, the only remaining portion of the splendid palace which the Queen of Cyprus commissioned for herself and her court, after the Republic of Venice donated the feud of Asolo to her.

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

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