“Mihai Codreanu” Museum or Sonnet Villa represents a monument of art and culture of Iași, a mix of poetry and history which tells the story of a great man of Iași.
Decorated with the Legion of Honour, blind poet, sensitive soul, addict of Romanian masonry and art collector, Mihai Codreanu remains, through his contrasts, a one of a kind character.
Opened for the public in 1970, the museum house where Mihai Codreanu lived in, was built in 1934, on a land donated to the sonneteer by Iași City Hall, as a sign of recognition of his admirable activity. The building is located in an old neighbourhood of Iași, nearby an old tap house, known as “Bolta Rece”. This was the place where the literary personalities of the 19th century used to meet, such as Mihai Eminescu, Ion Creangă or Ion Luca Caragiale.
The Sonnet Villa reminds us of those “extremely virtuous” poems which made Codreanu famous. The Sonnets have 14 lyrics and respect a logical structure and a precise rhyme scheme. The building has a Neo-Romanian architectural style, after the plans of an architect formed in Ion Mincu’s school. On the entrance steps, the two bronze statues represent the two dogs who were faithful to the poet until the end. The house keeps all original artistic values, with the library, the work office, the building room, the bedroom and all the other annexes. The house salon was the place where the members of the literary group of “Romanian Life” magazine would meet. The coffee set shaped as a human skull, from the Biedermeier buffet situated in salon, makes us think of the Masonic rituals which weren’t unknown to the maestro Mihai Codreanu. From the bedroom rack, the Toledo stilet cane shows to the interested ones the sonneteer’s road in the interwar Iași. Inside the museum there are exhibited approximately 700 objects, in a space formed by a hallway and three rooms. Among the exhibited objects we can see: paintings and photographs, furniture, sculptures, but also some personal objects of the sonneteer. We can also see here the six sonnet volumes and poetry written by Mihai Codreanu and the medals he received from institutions in Romania and France.
Currently, “Mihai Codreanu” Museum maintains the image it had during the writer’s life. This offers an image on the organisation manner of the Iași bourgeoisie houses in the first half of the last century. The museum has documentary evidence concerning the many meetings between the sonneteer and important writers of interwar Romanian literature, such as Mihail Sadoveanu, George Topârceanu and Otilia Cazimir. In the square from in front of the house we can see Mihai Codreanu’s bust made by sculptor Liviu Smău in 2012, placed in front of the poplar planted by the sonneteer himself.
Bolta Rece – the meeting place of the Iași bohemians
Bolta Rece is a mandatory stop for the one eager to feel the bohemian atmosphere of Iași. Built on Rece Street, the first mention dates since 1786. The building is typically Moldavian, with a porch and cool underground caves. The place’s history is marked by the impressive amount of cultural personalities who often used to come here. The Junimea members many times would end their parties at Bolta Rece. It is said that Eminescu would have met Ion Creangă here, afterwards returning many times. The restaurant, called “Universitas Vinorum”, offers Moldavian traditional meals: chicken soup, Moldavian tochitura, small sarmale in vine leafs, chișca (a type of sausage), meat croquettes, chicken stew, papanași with cream, poale-în-brâu (cheese cake) all of these on lăutărească music.