OUR HISTORY

“The history of the Fiermonte family begins in the land of Puglia, in the south of Italy.
For us, coming back to Puglia was a return to our roots.” Antonia and Giacomo

ANTONIA FIERMONTE

Born in 1914, she was only seventeen years old when her family decided to leave Puglia and settle in Rome. Particularly beautiful, she was also a talented painter and violinist. In Rome, she met René Letourneur, who had already distinguished himself as a prominent Art Déco artist by winning the Grand Prix de Rome of sculpture in 1926. This encounter changed both her existence and that of the artist.René divorced his wife to marry Antonia, who joined him in
Fontenay-aux-Roses (Paris) where he lived and worked with Jacques Zwobada, a long-time friend and an eclectic artist himself, designer and sculptor.

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Unfortunately, Jacques also fell hopelessly in love with this beautiful young woman and despite being married, courted her with unrelenting assiduity. He wrote her letters almost every day, expressing how much his love for her and his jealousy couldn’t be contained by the guilt he also felt towards his friend René. Antonia eventually succumbed to Jacques’passion, and after long and painful years during which the two lovers lived virtually under the same roof, she finally divorced René and married Jacques. Antonia became a great source of inspiration for Jacques and the passionate love they shared increasingly influenced his research and his work. By his side, the young woman returned to her own artistic inclinations.
Sadly, during a vacation in Rome, Antonia passed away at the age of only forty- two, at the height of her luminous mature beauty. Devastated by a pain so great it could have led him to madness, Jacques built a shrine to her in the cemetery of Mentana, a few kilometres from Rome. His friendship with René was revived by the sorrow the two men shared at losing Antonia.

“On that October day, at 4 o’clock in the afternoon, Antonia appeared in her blue dress, on the path turned golden by the autumn leaves. October 6, 1942. That’s how our love was born.” Jacques Zwobada

ENZO FIERMONTE

He left his native region of Puglia at the age of fourteen and covered by foot the road between Bari and Rome to pursue his dream: boxing. He was handsome and determined, and at only seventeen he’d become a professional boxer. A few years later he offered to replace the boxer who, due to an injury, had to give up his encounter with the French champion Paumelle. Enzo’s coach De Santis tried in vain to dissuade him. Without a moment of hesitation he stepped into the ring and won! This unexpected victory made him world famous and from then onward, the boxing matches followed in close succession: from Milan to Paris, London, Cairo, Buenos-Aires and finally to the legendary Madison Square Garden in New York, where the doors to the world championship opened for him. A renowned sports columnist nicknamed him “The White Panther”.

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During a trip on a luxury liner, as a bet with his friends, Enzo managed to approach and seduce Lady Madeleine Astor, one of the wealthiest women in America, also famous for having survived the Titanic disaster. Through her, Enzo was introduced into the most exclusive social circles of the East Coast. He also became a regular at the legendary El Morocco Club in New York, where an entire wing of the club was reserved for him.
In 1933, he divorced his wife Tosca, who had only just given birth to their son, and married the American millionaire. The new couple sent the American and international press into a frenzy. Now a jet-setter, Enzo abandoned boxing and started a career as an actor. He appeared in a myriad of movies, among which Luchino Visconti’s famous Rocco and his brothers. His impassioned marriage with Lady Astor lasted only four years. Towards the end of his restless existence, Enzo returned to Rome and settled in Mentana, where he passed away at the age of eighty-four. His body rests in the mausoleum built in the town cemetery by Jacques Zwobada.

strawberry fields

When John Lennon was brutally murdered, the city of New York dedicated an area of Central Park to him, named “Strawberry Fields” after the title of one of the artist’s most beautiful songs. This garden was designed by Anne Filali, the mother of the current owners of the Palazzo Bozzi Corso, and a friend of Yoko Ono.
In one of the reading rooms of the Palazzo Bozzi Corso, a book – a collection of texts, poems, drawings and paintings compiled by Anne Filali – has found its rightful place. Also titled Strawberry Fields, it gathers the works of more than eighty prestigious artists from all over the world, who wished to participate in this tribute to John Lennon. Souvenir photographs are displayed around the room, together with drawings by Yoko Ono. Other drawings by her also adorn the walls of several rooms of the Palazzo.

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