The Domestica Villa, today Villa Malacari, was built in 1668 by Andrea Malacari. Villa Malacari is located along the main road that, from the East, leads to a small village nestled at the feet of the hills from which the medieval Offagna Rock surges.
The villa was built with the purpose of joining all the agricultural operations together: the wine cellar, the granaries, the oil mill, the horse stables, and the carpentry and tooling workshops. Moreover, it served as the country residence for the Malacari di Grigiano family of earls.
A sort of brick villa-fortress whose long side faces the road to the north, the central section of the villa has two storeys while the lateral wings are three storied and are where the storage houses, the San Bernardino Church and the farmhouse are found.
In order to create an ambience on the south side of the villa, a hanging garden was planted. The garden is supported by a high sandstone wall down whose centre two symmetrical and curving stairways lead, disguising an underground cistern. The cistern collected rainwater from the roofs of the villa structures and the garden.
The half-rhombus layout of the house consists of two central wings that are occupied by the wine cellars on the ground and underground levels, and the residence on the first floor. Two other wings that form two closed corners house the storage buildings and the stables.
The wine cellars on the ground floor, reflecting the style of the old oil mill, the granaries, the horse stables and woodshed, have arches that are either crossed or barrel vaulted; the floors are made of tiles from the region.
The cellars are located in the most easterly premises. In the past, the grapes were conveyed from the road into the wine cellars via windows and openings to the ‘canale’ the wooden hopper where the grapes were pressed by foot. From this large room, where once the pressing took place, the musts were decanted into oak barrels and left to ferment. From there, heading westward, one arrives in the 'bottaia’, the ageing cellar: the tallest and darkest of the rooms where the wine, by then ready, was poured into large barrels of 40 or 50 hectolitres to mature. The different rooms were, and still are, separated according to various function, temperature and humidity requirements. Underneath the cellars there’s a large underground labyrinth where wines were stored to mature for longer periods of time.
One is lead to the main level of the villa by a curved staircase that starts at the centre of the building.
Above the stone portal is an inscription: Abbiti a Porto la Domestica Villa with ‘Salve’ (hello) carved underneath, testifying the love the Malacari Family felt for the villa, which was considered a refuge of solace and shelter for over three centuries, as well as testimony to the traditional hospitality of the house.
The seventeenth century floors of the main floor are in valuable yellow and red terracotta, set in geometric designs. The interior is comprised of a series of reception halls and rooms that are connected by a gallery, adorned by seventeenth century stucco with floral patterns.
In the southward facing garden, which is practically rendered a secret garden as it is enclosed on three sides by villa buildings, there are ancient trees: cedars, pines, three varieties of Holm Oak, one of which—the Ilex Quercuus—is at least 300 years old, is considered to be the oldest Holm Oak in the Marche region.
In the warm season the garden is full of flowers. Visitors are greeted by flowerbeds of zinnias, hydrangeas, reeds, the Italian box shrub garden, oleander flowers and the shadows of the tall trees. In October the rhythm and the look of the place seem to be turned upside down: the agricultural function re-emerges, the temporary roofing to shelter the grape pressing/hopper is set up again, together with the table for selecting grapes and the winepress are waiting for the carts laden with grapes. Even the leaves of the Virginia creeper that cover the wall turn red, as if also to follow the trend.