History of the Villa (Pt.2)

Continued from The history of the Villa (part 1).

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The penal colony, remained active for at least fifty years, will cease to function penitentiary [1]: by Royal Decree of November 30, 1933 n.1719 you have the transfer of prisoners in other colonies and their lands are entrusted Ente Colonization Ferrarese. Some families of peasants Ferrara (with the need to find new land to cultivate) occupy the territory, creating works of reclamation of the lagoon Calich. It employs some inmates that cost just 3 pounds per day [2].

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On October 13, where stood the stables of the penal colony, the Prince of Piedmont Umberto II (1904-1983) (left), son of King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy, inaugurates the Azienda Agraria of Cuguttu first core future fascist project of reclamation of Nura Alghero. The company is dedicated to Maria Pia, his eldest daughter, born the same year (to the right in a photo of 1940, Alinari Archives).

Below, a video containing an edition of Cine Light Newspaper (September 1934) with the visit of the Prince of Piedmont in Sardinia: Arrival in Cagliari and inauguration of the Agrarian dedicated to Maria Pia Alghero (from YouTube.com).



The reclamation in the vast region of Nura was one of the main initiatives of fascism in Sardinia. As demonstrated some images of the time kept inside the Villa (in the current conference room), the flag was raised on the flagpole of unmonumento – which currently survives only the base – that, with the shape of a fasces, stressed the ‘political aspect of the new creation.


In recent years the economic results that should come from the land reclamation sonoinferiori expectations. Some families of Ferrara, perhaps because of malaria, leaving the houses to other destination. In 1943, the body becomes Ferrarese Ente Sardo of Colonization and Sardinian settlers occupy the houses left by Ferrara people.

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After sixty years of neglect, the monument of Maria Pia is left in serious condition of degradation. Thanks to a Regional Financing (LR 37/98 Article 19 “Special Projects”), begins the restoration work, which last three years and end in 2006. The main building of the farm is therefore called Villa Maria Pia and is transformed in welcoming structure.


[1] In 1934, after the maintenance work of the penal colony of Cuguttu, made by companies Crovetti and Valsecchi, in a letter of the superintendency to public works of Cagliari, sent to the Director of Civil Engineers of Sassari about a request from the Director the penal colony of Cuguttu, about the construction of two new rooms used as dormitory, the superintendent invited the executive to refrain from any performance since the same Ministry of Justice, when asked about, had observed that the work would not have had any interest in now the Prison Administration, as the Cologne would pass soon employed Ente Ferrarese for internal colonization. Cfr.Relazione Historical – Work Rehabilitation and restoration of the building and management of the company of Maria Pia, region Cuguttu, Alghero, to be used for museum area, conference, exhibition, park and botanical garden, pp.2-3- 4.

[2] Andrea Fontana, The idea of ​​Giolitti recovery from Duce, Il Resto del Carlino 05/06/2012


A heartfelt thanks to Prof. Lucia Naitana and students of the art school “F. Constantino”of Alghero, on the occasion of the event Monumenti Aperti 2013, have made extensive research on the history of Villa Maria Pia who has been key to the development of this text.