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Niagara Falls
Sunday, December 10, 2023
Letter: Design of new Marotta winery is classic

Dear editor:

Thank you to the Marotta family for bringing the beautiful new Stone Eagle Winery to Niagara-on-the-Lake. 

The proposed winery, named after their amazing, stellar wine, will be situated on the drive into our beautiful town. 

But as per usual, some must complain … now it’s “La Cupola” that’s so upsetting.

A cupola is an architectural detail dating back to the eighth century and it became prevalent throughout New England in the 1800s. 

Cupolas are a dome-like structure on a building’s roof ridge which assist in defining the structure’s centreline, while adding character to set a building apart.

A cupola provides both form and function. It brings natural light and at times air flow, acting as a natural ventilation system.

La cupola was a favoured ventilation technique for barns, allowing fresh air to circulate in and out through the rooftop while keeping the inside cool and dry. 

There are many variations of la cupola throughout our beautiful town. Even on some old barns! 

This cupola may be the largest and most predominant in the area. Perhaps that is what is so upsetting to others.

I found this comment in Chris Allen's April 14 letter (“Proposed winery design is overpowering,“) most amusing: “There must be a lot of male designers involved with this one. They just have to have the biggest and the tallest of whatever that 'cupola' thing on top is.”

I just didn’t understand this statement.  

In fact, the design was driven by two beautiful women, Melissa and Angela Marotta, who were involved alongside their father, Benny Marotta, who is always supportive of his daughter’s wineries — and, of course, their architect Bill Hicks.

Having had the privilege of walking through the tiny staircase climbing the cupola, designed for the cathedral of Florence by Brunelleschi, I can tell you it was an astounding experience. 

Brunelleschi’s dome over the crossing of the Duomo in Florence is an architectural and engineering masterpiece of the early 15th century. 

To see this design for a new winery arrive here in Niagara-on-the-Lake is magnificent. It will set a new architectural precedent for future wineries. Stellar! 

Driving into town to see the grandeur of La Cupola on the Stone Eagle Winery will serve to remind me of my travels through the beautiful landscape of Italy, while paying homage to their use in New England architecture in the 19th century. 

Viva La Cupola! So poignantly beautiful.

Filomena Pisano

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