How the family arrived to Italy
Around the mid of the 19Th century, four of the eight Schlatter brothers moved to Italy (The Schlatters was an old Swiss family with noble origins dated back to 1200).
Two of the Schlatter brothers moved to Florence where they started a flourishing business selling fabrics; one in Genova as a Consul and Luigi Giorgio was nominated Swiss Consul General for the Papal States.
In Rome he made several property investments and set up a bank, but soon, a series of adverse happenings ruined his life. He was forced to close his bank down after one of his teller run away with all the cash. Few years later , in 1861 with the conquering of Rome by the Savoia family, all his property were confiscated by the Italian State, against which he brought an useless legal action that worn all his remaining energy out.
At the age of 51, for unknown causes, he died leaving his wife Emilie De La Morte with a baby son: Carlo Adolfo
The painter Carlo Adolfo
….as in a romance, the two sisters, Emilie and Matilde De la Morte, had married two of the Schlatter brothers so, very naturally, Emilie took refuge to her sister in Florence.
The two French sisters were very pretty and Emilie, still young, used to walk regularly to her husband’s grave with her little son, at the Allori cemetery.
The couple used to attract the attention of the people while walking from Lungarno to Santa Trinita bridge and up to Poggio Imperiale. It was during this path that she met her second husband.
Many years later, on the same path, Carlo Adolfo met his partner, a young student from the Poggio Imperiale College. He used to walk in front of the college on his way to the Allori cemetery. Emma was the daughter of the General of the armed corp Onorato Moni. The general had conducted, many years before, the conquest of Porta Pia in Rome and now, for a curious coincidence, destiny entangled again the life of the two families. For this love at first sight Emma, going against her family’s will, left her boarding school to get married.
Adolfo from the beginning dedicated himself to art, fascinated by the Florentine art scene that was developing at the time among macchiaioli, decadents and symbolism, frequenting artists and he was strongly influenced by meeting his compatriot Arnold Böcklin who was also living in Florence.
His artistic inclination took him afar from his family and his wife, that would have preferred another profession for him. He cleared his inheritance and built a small villa in Campo di Marte, a part of the city that was at that time still countryside. The house was surrounded by vegetation as we can see in his portrait; that was in fact the first building of Viale dei mille.
He used to live there with Emma, very humbly, completely dedicated to painting and philosophy: theosophy and art were his life.
He used to write and illustrate his thoughts which were later published in various volumes at that time but, being him against the commercialization of “Art”, he lived with the income derived from the selling of copies of art pieces that antique dealers commissioned him and of drawings for artistic wrought iron. An example of the latter are the two dragons on the roof of the house. He never sold his own pictures. His work, not having been sold on the market but kept by his family up until today, remains almost completely unknown by the public.
In the family a story is commonly told: when Emma went to his studio and asked “ Adolfo, what are we going to eat today? We have nothing.”, he used to go out to sell a small one of his paintings.
Other stories entangled and developed in the house, as the one of Dina ( wife of Adolfo’s son) famous for her beauty for which also Curzio Malaparte felt.Her life was changed forever when she met Alfredo Schlatter who later became her husband.
The contact with the house, the arty atmosphere and the noble memories, turned her from an almost illiterate common girl to an educated, self-taught woman, a poet and sculptor (her work is also kept well preserved in the house) who frequented salons and was also a lady of Malta Knights.
Thus, through centuries the house has arrived to present time to Alessandra, the great grand-daughter of Adolfo, a former antique dealer and interior designer who was able to collect its spirit and has put all her effort to restore and dust it from the abandonment that had wrapped it, to bring it to life again with a project that will give to anyone the chance to stay thereand to discover its story, the artistic work of her great grand father and to honour his memory.