Among the historical buildings in Asolo, Casa Duse is one of those that evokes stories and memories rooted at the end of the 19th century.
It was then that Eleonora Duse, a theatrical actress among the most influential figures of Italian cultural scene of the end of the century, visited Asolo for the first time. She was so impressed by the city that she decided to settle down.
Casa Duse is located in Via Antonio Canova 287/344. It is a palace of the sixteenth century, which was initially the home of Francesco Nursio Timideo da Verona and located on the medieval city walls, corresponding to the Porta di Santa Caterina.
Since her first visit to Asolo in 1892, the actress was so impressed by the splendour of the place and its surrounding landscapes that she wanted to settle down. But it took many years for the actress to find an appropriate home, and the fate wanted the house to become the object of contention between the actress and a Venetian family: the spouse of a fallen in the battle of Monte Grappa wanted the house to keep alive the memory of her defunct beloved who fell right in the battle of Grappa. The windows of the building, which gave right on that place, would have allowed her to pay homage every day to the memory of her beloved. Having known this sad affair, Duse gave up at first buying the house, and it was until later and after the renunciation of the house by the interested parties that the actress took possession of it. To preserve the memory of the couple, the actress wanted to make a symbolic gesture every morning by putting flowers on the windowsill facing Monte Grappa. “When I open the shutters of my room in the morning, Monte Grappa is framed in the window. Then I put two vases of flowers on the windowsill. Here is an altar”, were the words of the actress.
Today, Casa Duse, which can be visited from the outside, looks like a building with a peculiar white and red colour, characterised by interesting architectural motifs and a marble plaque affixed to its facade that recalls its famous tenant and bears some verses by the poet Gabriele D'Annunzio, the actress's great love. A look at the house is enough to understand why Duse chose this place in the mountains as home of her last years: the view of Grappa is enchanting.
From the house you can then reach the cemetery of Asolo, where the actress is buried since her death that occurred in 1924. Her tomb is located in a secluded place and protected by the shade of cypress trees, facing the Grappa Massif, just as she wished.