A symbol of the multiple dark implications of the post-War period and the tragic consequences of the War on the lives of the survivors, Villa Pontello was converted into a girls' orphanage in 1924.
For several decades its high walls and the surrounding park provided protection but also imposed strictness to dozens of young girls who spent their childhood and teenage years here. The mansion was built by the testamentary disposition of Luigi Pontello, a very skilled and knowledgeable local artisan, who had chosen to donate all his wealth to the construction of a girls' orphanage named after him, after his death.
The external grounds of the villa correspond to the park's extensive area, which contains an original fountain and a small annexed building in the forested area.
The Istituto Pontello opened its doors in May 1928 and soon went from housing 4 to 40 young guests, under the supervision of the Canossian Sisters. It then closed in 1979 due to the shortage of orphan girls. After being abandoned for some years, the complex became the property of the municipality and its premises were converted into the location of today's 'Museo del '900 e della Grande Guerra'.
Una generazione che era ancora andata a scuola con la carrozza pubblica si trovò sotto il libero cielo in un paesaggio dove nulla era rimasto immutato a parte le nuvole e, in mezzo, al centro di un campo di forze dove si scontravano correnti devastatrici ed esplosioni, stava il minuscolo, fragile corpo dell’uomo.
Walter Benjamin “Erfahrung und Armut” in Gesammelte Schriften, Vol II, 1, cit, p.214