Pio Soli architect (Castelnuovo Scrivia 1847 – San Remo 1906) A Piedmontese, he came to San Remo as the trusted architect of Giovanni Marsaglia. Rich in awards and prizes obtained by participating in competitions in many cities in Italy, he was almost lacking in experience of actually producing works.
Its debut was the construction of an unmemorable Hotel Bellevue on the Corso Imperatrice, soon torn down to make way for a Villa for engineer Marsaglia, so imposing that it was immediately renamed Castello. With it Pius Soli began a way to which he would remain faithful in the building of later villas. Following the example of what Charles Garnier, of whom he was one of the greatest followers, was accomplishing, even in nearby Bordighera, the buildings were double-bodied, one extended horizontally, the other vertically in the manner of a habitable tower. Decorations and finishing touches were added to this layout to characterize the individual work, which could result, thus, in neo-medieval, Renaissance, and neo-Rococo styles, according to the dictates of the prevailing eclecticism. Almost always present were elements, also borrowed from Garnier, such as mansard roofs with slate cladding, oculus windows, often with cartouche, and wrought iron lace at the top of the roof.
In San Remo Pio Soli remained until his death, participating in all major artistic events, by virtue of his recognized cultural authority and his now acquired San Remo citizenship.
We recall his major works: 1873-74, Hotel Bellevue opposite the Empress Promenade, 1880 design for a Casino-Kursaal, 1882 Castello Marsaglia, 1883 Villa Thiem (now Villa Virginia), 1884 Villa Fiorentina, 1885 Presbyterian Church, with Carlo Gastaldi, demolished in 1936, 1886-7 Sea Bathing Establishment, 1890 Roverizio Tomb, 1891 renovation of Villa Nobel, 1893 Villa Bel Respiro, 1896 Villa Stefania, 1898 Villa del Sole and Villa Marie Joseph, 1901 design for Giovanni Marsaglia’s tomb. He was part of the commission that commissioned Leonardo Bistolfi to create the monument to Garibaldi.
In 1906 the Municipal Administration entrusted him with the task of supervising the inspection of the building and structures of the Casino, with respect to the plans and cost estimates submitted at the time by the architect Eugène Ferret who had executed it. On that occasion he showed himself to be a stern and correct interpreter of a shrewd and responsible architectural ethic, identified shortcomings and deficiencies in the execution compared to the initial design, and suggested to the City Council that an amount be cut from what was originally agreed upon, consequently arousing Ferret’s subsequent indignation.
He died a few months later, on May 21, 1906, and was buried in the Foce Cemetery in San Remo.