The Velarca is a floating house anchored for fifty years on the western shore of Lake Como. In Ossuccio in the historic town of Spurano the BBPR Studio designed its lines between 1959 and 1961. The boat is characterized by great attention to detail and choice of construction materials.
This lariana gondola is located just beyond the church of San Giacomo where a short staircase descends towards the lake from the Regina state road. The BBPR Group, which created the work, was founded by Gian Luigi Banfi, Lodovico Barbiano di Belgiojoso, Enrico Peressutti and Ernesto Nathan Rogers. The spouses Emilio and Fiammetta Norsa possessed only one strip of land facing the lake shore and commissioned the project; the designers adapted the boat to make it a houseboat moored to the mainland. The Velarca took its name from the famous Torre Velasca of Milan designed by the same BBPR studio; this example of a unique houseboat is particularly interesting for the solutions developed and the extreme attention to detail. The architecture magazines of the time praised it as an example of Italian creativity and ingenuity and thanks to the passion of the Norsa spouses, the Velarca became a prestigious salon frequented by artists and intellectuals.
Around the central element of the circular staircase there are the bedrooms, the kitchen and the services, while at the bow and at the stern there are the living spaces and a small study. The house is completed by the upper space covered by a marquee, used as an outdoor dining area and by the small garden on the mainland. In 2011 Velarca was donated to Fai, Fondo Ambiente Italiano, and is currently undergoing restoration. The village of Ossuccio is characterized by the presence of a rich historical, artistic and archaeological heritage. The village overlooks the Zoca de l’Oli, a quiet inlet facing the Isola Comacina.