Greek Villa Kerylos in Cote d’Azur

This fabulous Greek villa was created by Theodore Reinach (1860-1928) and Emmanuel Pontremoli (1865-1956). T. Reinach had a double doctorate in law and arts in Frankfurt. Devoted to Ancient Greece, he also was an archaeologist, a papyrologist, a numismatist and a musicologist. E. Pontremoli was an architect. His goal was not to imitate but reinventing Greece. It was a long-drawn-out project (6 years) to complete this masterpiece. In 1921, he was appointed “General Inspector of Government Buildings and National Palaces”. He also was the first architect to be appointed director of the School of Fine Arts in Paris.

The Villa Kerylos is located on the Mediterranean coast, between Nice and Monaco. This extraordinary monument on the Rivera was built between 1902 and 1908, during what French people call the “Belle Epoque” period. The name “Kerylos” of this unique reconstruction of an ancient Greek home means “halcyon” or “kingfisher”, which is a poetic mythical bird, the whole villa is designed in order to recreate the atmosphere of a Luxurious Greek villa. The goal was to include modern comfort into a luxurious classic Greek villa.

Furniture is maybe one of the most incredible aspects of this property. Designers have created the exact copy of Grecian original furniture, according to traditional methods; noble materials such as rosewood, cocobolo or olive trees; and elegant adornments like bronze, marble and inlaid work.

Outside the villa, the gardens offer amazing views over Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat peninsula (which has a lot of beautiful houses) and a lot of Greek plants like olive trees and vines, pomegranate , iris, papyrus or even pine and palm trees. Moreover, the eastern facade of the villa is made of a corner tower, which is actually the star attraction of the property. With its large terrace, people can benefit from an incredible panoramic view!

Now, it is time to visit the villa… We are coming in the entrance hall, called The Tyroreion. It also was the name of the porter in Greek homes. On the walls, there is a square layout with black and red frescoes, symbol of peace and war. You can find an original mosaic from the second century representing a cockerel, a hen and chicks which symbolize family. A large statue of Sophocles, author of Greek tragedies like Oedipus and Antigone) also stands in the entrance hall.

The next step of our visit is the thermal baths, called The Balaneion. This room is dedicated to the Naiades, the nymphs of running water, streams, spring and fountains. It is a testimony of social importance of Bath in ancient times. In fact, water has a mythical role: it nourished, washed and purified. This octagonal bath is 1 meter deep. The sides are covered in Carrara tiger marble. Inside the bath, a mosaic shows seaweed and marine animals. The bath also includes bronze grids and a shape of a star at the centre.

The property offers a centre courtyard, called The Peristyle. It is one of the essential foundations of a classical villa. It brings light and provides ventilation for the rooms of the villa. You can admire beautiful paintings and mosaics. The courtyard offers 12 Carrara marble columns, 6 frescoes on the walls and 2 busts of Homer (author of the Odyssey) and Hippocrates (a Greek physician).

Coming back inside the villa, let’s have a look at the Library. It is the most spectacular and incredible room of the villa. Spread over one and a half floor, it is dedicated to the goddess of Athena. This room provides a lot of knowledge: there are many books dealing with works about art and archaeology. It also includes a collection of authentic Ancient Greece objects like vases or amphorae for instance.

The villa has several private apartments. The Ornitès was madame Reinach’s bedroom. Also called the “bird room”, it was dedicated to Hera, wife of Zeus and goddess of marriage and femininity. She had her own bathroom, The Ampelos. The Erotès was Theodore Reinach’s bedroom, dedicated to Eros, god of love. The Nikai was the bathroom of the master of the house. It means “victory”, which is represented by winged females. To finish with, The Triptolème as a common room for M and Ms Reinach’s apartments. This room is dedicated to Triptolemus, hero of mythology. His legend is illustrated in the central design of the mosaic. And wall paintings remember the house in Pompeii, Italy.

This virtual tour was just a foretaste of what you can really see when visiting this beautiful property. It could be a nice plan for you when visiting the Cote d’Azur. For sure, you will fall in love with this region full of culture! We can suggest you a lot of properties if you want to enjoy even more the region; please don’t hesitate to contact us for further information or to arrange a viewing with our local agents!

Official website: http://www.villa-kerylos.com/en/home

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This entry was posted on Thursday, April 30th, 2015 at 5:55 pm and is filed under French history, Property in Provence Cote d Azur, Travel in France . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


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