HistoryGiuditta Pasta: the most famous opera singer of the xx century
In the early 19th century, Villa Roccabruna - the core of CastaDiva Resort - was known as "Casino Ribiere" from the name of its owner, Madame Ribier, an eccentric french dressmaker from Paris who, while in Milan under the French rule, made a fortune dressing the ladies of the high society (such as Joséphine Beauharnais) and possibly “undressing their husbands”. According to a legend, she was indeed very libertine by nature.
Later, Giuditta Pasta bought the villa in 1827 with the first money she earned as a singer, and renamed it to Villa Roda. The building was refurbished between 1827 and 1829 by engineer Filippo Ferranti, Giuditta’s uncle.
Villa Roda actually comprised three houses – the main villa and two guest houses. The former was a multi-storey building with an arcade designed by painter Francesco Hayez and built by sculptor Alessandro Puttinati, that reproduced the colonnade of Teatro alla Scala in Milan. Giuditta Pasta wished to live in a house that looked like the place where she found success.
At Blevio, Giuditta met important personalities of the music and cultural world, among whom musicians and playwriters such as Vincenzo Bellini, Gaetano Doninzetti (who stayed at Villa Roda for one month in 1830 to write Anna Bolena), Gioacchino Rossini and his wife Olympe Pélisser (in the winter of 1837), Spanish soprano and composer Isabella Colbran, Teresa Parodi, French writer Stendhal, librettists such as Felice Romani with his wife Emilia Branca, poetesses and governesses like Adele Curti and Maria Luisa Hadfield Cosway, army officers such as the retired Napoleonic prefect Ferdinando Porro and writers like Alessandro Manzoni.
The former Villa Roda was completely rebuilt according to the "Liberty style" between 1906 and 1910 by Milanese architect Carlo Formenti and renamed Villa Roccabruna. It was owned by family Wild, "cotton magnate" coming from Turin but originally from Switzerland until "Fifties". For almost 50 years Villa Roccabruna remain inhabited. Since 2000 it belongs to the Italian Company Hotel Residence Club.