The Residenza La Torre is a group of residential constructions built by Enrico Marini (1916-2014).

Enrico Marini - Architetto, pittore e scultoreEnrico Marini was born in Milan on the 29th of October 1916. When he was still an infant he was left in the care of Signora Gina Riva nee Costantini who lived in Arolo near Leggiuno. He remained with her until the age of six, when he was taken to his grandfather’s house so he could attend Primary School, but after the first year he was joined again with his parents in Milan. Having spent his childhood in Arolo, he soon found out that he didn’t enjoy life in a big city. However, he finished his compulsory education in Milan and started to train to become a school teacher. It was thanks to his teachers that he discovered his natural talent for art, so he decided to enrol to the Brera Academy in Milan and graduated in 1940.

The relationship with his parents had its ups and downs, naturally he ended up having to support himself financially by doing odd jobs whilst finishing his studies. As a student, he returned frequently to visit his “mum” Gina in Arolo and his many childhood friends. At the age of 20 he met Adele Rodari, whose father worked as caretaker at the Eremo of Santa Caterina del Sasso and he married her in 1940 despite his parents opposition. At this point, having to start a new family, he felt he needed to better himself, so he began his studies to become an architect at the Politecnico in Milan. The following June Italy was at war: Enrico joined the army and was sent to Albania. In the winter of the same year he returned to Italy due to a serious frostbite to his foot and was hospitalised for months. As soon as he had recovered, he was sent to France where had stayed until 1943. From 1943 to 1945 he lived with his in-laws at the Eremo of Santa Caterina and was able to finish his studies with his family’s support.. At the same time, he saw the birth of his first daughter, followed by his second daughter in 1946.

He soon found work as a technical draftsman in Saronno, but only a few years  later he was employed by the Varese Council to design the internal road connecting Angera to Laveno, which is still in use today.

The villa and the tower - Enrico MariniBy 1951 he was living in Saronno and had become a successful professional, designing villas, schools, factories and warehouses in the area. He continued to work tirelessly until 1966, which is when he decided to start a new project: building a villa with a tower in Arolo and make it his ideal home. He spent his time off-work helping the local builders, digging the land, moving stones, clearing the area and constantly making changes to the original plan. Together with his wife, he worked day and night at the project. Finally, he could enjoy his new home and dedicate himself to his real passions: sculpture and painting.

He loved to display his artwork in the villa (some of it can still be seen today), but at the same time he worked on a new idea to expand his original plan by creating a little hamlet. He started by building two more houses, which he later called  ‘the Houses in the Woods’. These new constructions were inspired by nature and were built using local materials, such as stones, brick and wood.

After his wife’s death in 2002 the villa became his retreat, where he lived until the age of 95. During the last years of his life he was very ill and needed constant care, so he moved back to Saronno with his daughters and family.

He died on the 27th of July 2014 and was buried in the family chapel in Arolo cemetery.

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Apartments and holiday homes on Lake Maggiore