Villa Grock: the clown who drove dictators all over the world crazy lived in Imperia

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Joel Fulleda

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In the shadow of the Ligurian Riviera and away from those roads beaten at all hours by tourists and citizens an almost unknown world is hiding. A building with a very bizarre architecture that recalls the circus world and which has obviously been influenced by the liberty and contemporary styles.

Some know it as the stone circus, and is one of the most magical and mysterious places to discover in Imperia; a building that hides, not too much, decorations full of esoteric and masonic symbols which are inextricably linked to the entire existence of its owner: Charles Adrien Wettach, aka Grock, considered the greatest clown of all time.

Villa Bianca, better known as Villa Grock, is one of those places that cannot be explained, just pass by to perceive the presence of an unprecedented and incredible universe that is hidden behind those gates.

Villa Grock – Source Wikimedia/Paul Bissegger

All thanks to that creative child, who later became a celebrity, who at the age of 6 discovers the circus and falls in love with it. His name was Adrien Wettach, born in Reconvilier on January 10, 1880, consecrated King of clowns at the Olympia in Paris in 1919.

Grock, this is his nickname, was a juggler, equilibrist, acrobat and musician, an extraordinary artist who bewitched the whole world to the point of turn into a legend. Hitler, Churchill, and even the King of Spain: the clown has conquered them all.

Then, one day almost by chance he arrived in Imperia and it is with this place that he fell madly in love. So he chose to buy that house that still today it dominates the hill of Oneglia and which became his safe haven until 1959, when he died. But the reality is that Grock is still present in everyone's memory and even more so in that villa that testifies to the owner's eclectic dream.

Villa Grock – Source iStock/Kroshanosha

After the death of the man, the building had a troubled history: destined to become a hotel that never opened, it was then abandoned and then returned to the hands of the province which restored and redeveloped it.

Visiting the structure today allows anyone to find the amazing art of the clown: sharpen your eyes in search of the esoteric and Masonic, Japanese and Indian symbols that characterize every corner of the villa together with that spiral that no, it is not the magical representation of something that is incomprehensible to us, but it is the call of the sketch of the clown and of the circus.

Without a well-defined path, and at times confusing, inside the Villa Grock you will seem to get lost and it is only at that point that you can say that you have understood it in its essence, because it is a spectacle, confusing and confused but perfectly coherent: it is the stone circus.

Villa Grock – Source Wikimedia/Paul Bissegger

Mysterious places Seaside Riviera
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