Pimp my Mansion – Ep. 4 – Matac Villa

On a small alley, between two metal gates, framed by two brick pillars (both engulfed in vines), the old nut trees form a barely distinguishable trace of what it once was a very welcoming Villa entrance.

You know how they were doing it back then, when the land was cheap and people were idiots: big entry, very well traced and the geometry of the gardens and of the place in itself, were totally full of grandeur, not kitsch, like today.

Of course, nobody back in 1903, when this mansion was built, wouldn’ have thought that the great entry they prepared for this piece of architecture, between the wineries and in a very modern (for those times) style but with clear signatures of traditional craft in it, would be used in 2018 to tie a skinny horse up, between the “lush” vegetation. Nor would have they pictured the rusted tractor, its tow or the turkeys catching insects on the ground behind it, on the lawn just on the right as you enter.

Matac Vila the tractor

Why the fuck did I decided to visit during a totally predictable storm? This way I wasn’t able to fly my drone but somehow I sense that the lush vines that embrace the castle during the beginning of August, wouldn’t have let a lot of this building’s architecture be shown. In fact, the Villa is so deep between vegetation that hasn’t been cut for years that you may want to say “fuck it, it’s a dead end!” before you got to it.

This is a place where Nixon and Castro were invited to taste wines (not in the same time of course). I mean it has seen some faces and it has felt some asses on the chairs inside.

Matac Vila the entrance

Funny thing – but a shame that it is!

I found out about this place, though pretty close to my home, when I came here for a wedding shoot (photographic not the type “shoot the bride while the bullets last”). It seems it’s a very popular place for wedding participants to go and have pictures taken by the photographers they hired. Unfortunately for the vila, now, being wedding season, the place gets more or less 4 to 5 weddings per day and their adjacent crowds. That means clandestine. There’s no “welcoming committee” to make sure these guys don’t litter or don’t, I don’t know, break the fucking door.

Which they did. And I got inside and saw the old furniture inside. Old, hardwood, papers dating back before 1990. And others got in. It’s a fucking mess, I tell you.

The place was built on the vineyard grounds of the Cantacuzino family (a pretty wealthy family around our parts…they owned Romania practically) at the beginning of the XXth Century and it was meant to be an administrative centre for the workers in the vineyards but also serve as a villa for the heads of the family. When the communists came, they took it and incorporated it in some state-owned company they made fast, in charge of the administration and development of the vineyards and as they liked to call it “Wine laboratories company“. Because it was part of this company the Vila enjoyed good times under communism and didn’t transform into tuberculosis sanatory or something similar, like other villas like this got to. Instead, they used it. It seems that communists liked good wine nonetheless and they liked to taste it in good, old bourgeoise style.

Matac Vila the stairs

You can’t really tell anything about its architecture. You can see that. It’s all covered in vines and the only new thing it got in it is the roof. As it is still state-owned, after 1990 the place was unlucky to tears. That old Communist Winery Company started selling as the interest to keep it centralised was no more and the easy businesses were within reach. So now, the Wine Company doesn’t administer really anything, but it still has in its administration this Vila. Of course, they lack the funds to do anything about it as they barely survive and nobody knows why they still do. Everything in wine in Romania is done only through private investments and private initiative so why are they still breathing?

Because of this flaw of property a place like this is left to rot and is left to be accessible to anybody, anyhow, anyway.

Matac Vila vines

Matac Vila balcony

The Villa was constructed beautifully, between many hills, right where their meeting point is. If the bushes wouldn’t be so untrimmed and the wineries around the same (which I suspect are owned by that same, dying, state-owned company) the view from the balcony where the communists shot one of their best movies made in Romania, would be great. Imagine only being a Cantacuzino head of the family, waking up in 1910 over here, wine rolling down in barrels and life being awesome.

You can see that this is the realm of vines. Everything is covered in it. Even during the winter, the twigs that survive are enough ruin the straight walls beauty. Though I love nature, I hate when it’s taking over places that should exist.

Matac Vila Columns

The columns of the balcony are incredibly straight and the whole structure feels powerful though the state it’s in required metal frames inside, so the upper structure won’t collapse. I saw that when I entered inside. So dark in there, all the windows have thick shutters and everything was in total darkness.

Place is surely haunted and if it’s not, well it should be, it looks like it. Or at least these damn bastards got it looking like that.

Matac Vila chandelier

Along the pillars, there are small characteristics that for sure date back a very long time ago and that for sure got to touch that golden era, even though they were maybe not here since the birth of this place. The chandeliers have candle places in them and the doorknobs of the front doors are pieces of art in themselves. Even the heavy doors are quality, you can see.

We left the same as we came. A little bit wet, but still idiots that live in the generation that allows for things like this to happen.

When there so much financial leakage in our system, it seems you can’t find the human resources to at least, rent the place…or even sell the damn thing. A little bit further down the hills, there are places like this, maybe not with the same heavy history, that are making heavy money.

Matac Vila brick pillar

At the exit from the alley, the brick pillars and the rusted gate bearing the acronim of the former Communist Wine Company are waving us goodbye through the big drops of rain:

“Goodbye suckers… goodbye!”

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