Cellino San Marco. Villa Neviera or Torre del Rifugio

Cellino San Marco. Villa Neviera or Torre del Rifugio

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The majestic villa was built in 1888 and belonged to the Marquis Antonio De Viti - De Marco. Its name 'refuge' stems from the fact that it hosted Vittorio Emanuele III during his stay in Brindisi, which for some months was the capital of Italy. In fact, immediately after the armistice was signed, the Royal Family and the National Government took refuge in Brindisi. Here, from 10 September 1943 to 11 February 1944, they sat down, promulgated laws that they printed on the official gazette, and appointed new ministers.
The villa is made of warm amber-coloured tufa that ends with a flat roof and chimney stacks that look like a turret. Its shape is squared with an architectural effect given by the covered portico with cross vaults of the entrance area on which there is a small terrace. The side towards the forest is instead enriched by a mullioned window and by an overlying loggia with a neo-Gothic arch opening and a floral decoration of the stone parapet.
The two large halls used as the living room and dining room are decorated with huge fireplaces enriched by a carved marble pediment.

History of snow and ice of Cellino San Marco
Snow and ice have always had an important role in people's lives for food preservation, sorbets and health reasons to treat fever, muscle aches and pains.
Snow gathering was so important that in the Papal States the entire town of Rocca Priora had been placed under the direct control of the Pope due to its abundance of snowfall and its proximity to Rome. Transportation took place with special trains that were given every form of pass to allow them to reach the capital using the cool climate of summer nights.
Special methods were used to create an ice reserve that could be used during the summer periods. First they prepared holes in the ground (in the towns of central-northern Italy) or set up underground rooms on the north side of the houses that were called "neviere".
The preparation of the ice took place during the snowfalls, in which people began to collect snow and store snow and press it to transform it into ice. Then every 40 cm a separation layer was made with straws or leaves so as to make it easier to use during the summer.
In the case of Villa Neviera, the snow was crammed into an underground environment through a nozzle located on the north side of the building.
At Villa Neviera there was also a water well with a spring that provided water to the centre of Cellino San Marco during periods of water scarcity.

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