Those who have been to Intra, will have certainly admired its central square, near the lake promenade, surrounded by elegant colourful buildings and lively cafès. This square is named after Daniele Ranzoni, one of the most important personalities of the pictorial movement called Scapigliatura, who was born in Intra in 1843. The Engel & Völkers shop (at 159 of Corso Goffredo Mameli) is located near this square and, through the testimony of Pascal Tonazzi, we discovered a beautiful story, worth telling.
Here is what Pascal Tonazzi wrote in an email, addressed to us: “I am French and live in Paris. My great-grandfather and great-grandmother, Manrico and Delfina Tonazzi, were the owners of the shop where you have your real estate agency today, 140 years ago! My grandfather was born on the first floor. This place reminds my family and me of many things. I have a collection of postcards and one shows really well the bar - cafè owned by my great-grandfather”.
In the second half of XIX century, during the Belle Epoque, a period in which many of the most beautiful Lago Maggiore villas were built, our shop was the elegant bar “Il Verbano”, owned by Mr. and Mrs. Tonazzi, Daniele Ranzoni’s cousins. A place where many cheerful parties were held and during which Manrico Tonazzi played the cello. The spouses lived upstairs, on the first floor, and their home turned sometimes into a room for the game of cards, an activity that was forbidden at that time.
Pascal Tonazzi also wrote: “My great-grandparents, who also ran a second cafè, called Scalo, that has ever since been at the pier, hosted Daniele Ranzoni, sad and in a poor state of health, until his death in 1889”.
So this is the story behind the link between the painter Daniele Ranzoni, the cafè “Verbano” and our agency in Verbania. We can imagine that epoch clearly: the atmosphere of Intra, Lago Maggiore villas in a festive mood, Ranzoni painting one of his pictures, that we can see hanging on the walls of various museums today (for example Museo del Paesaggio in Intra).
And if we close our eyes, we can still turn the Engel & Völkers shop into a cheerful bar, crowded with habituée and wanderers. Today people visit it because they are in search of houses for sale Lago Maggiore, but at that time it was a place where customers looked for a nice coffee, some chat or some bits of the bohemienne life. many years have passed, but the charm of our Lago Maggiore has remained unchanged.