COLLEONI PALACE

Colleoni Palace is set in the northern part of Cortenuova (BG, Italy) in Molino Street 2.  It is a two-storey square building that overlooks an English garden built after the house. The original project is by the architect Filippo Alessandri but the structure was later enlarged, in 1880, to transform it into a holiday building.The construction of the house, therefore, began in 1760 and continued until the nineteenth century.

The building, made of brick, has a raised core and two large wings that close in a horseshoe. The building is preceded by an English garden, a typology that spread during the eighteenth century in which the space is not defined or geometrically limited, nature does not appear uncultivated, but not wild and where the various elements are combined without giving the viewer an overview. The park has an area of two hectares where you can see a large gazebo, a choreographic fountain illuminated in the evening, and a pond with a small bridge.

This structure is about 200 meters long and about 90 meters wide. As already mentioned, the building is characterized by two long front wings which flank the residence, thus forming a large rectangular courtyard. The lower part of the facade has a pictorial decoration in fake ashlar. Between the windows of the first and second ground there are panels decorated with figures of cherubs painted in monochrome frescoes. In the upper part you can see the expressive freedom typical of the Baroque and Rococo: in fact, in the centre the upper part of the facade has three wrought iron balconies in the Rococo style. The windows on the side of the balconies and on the sides of the main entrance are not large but slender upwards and, like the whole front of the building, are marked by four pilasters.[6] The tympanum of the facade is decorated with a sundial. Between the elevation of the tympanum and the rest of the building there are inverse volutes, in the shape of an 'S' which partly cover the pitched roof and which have the task of harmonizing the construction. The access road located on the eastern side shows the Colleoni coat of arms in Sarnico stone. In the courtyard at the back of the building, in the part dedicated to the farmhouses, there is an architectural sequence of double-order arcades, which on the ground are characterized by a lowered arch with corresponding rectangular openings in the upper parts.

In the southeast corner of the building stood the church, now deconsecrated. The church has a neoclassical facade, with a tympanum supported by four pilasters with Corinthian capitals.

Inside the building there are two areas worth mentioning: the central hall and the upper hall. The first has a fresco on the pavilion ceiling representing Aurora, a fresco by Francesco Domeneghini. On the eastern wall of the room there is also a monumental sandstone fireplace; its decoration, made of stucco, has two angels holding a crown that encloses two coats of arms: one by Colleoni and the other cardinal. The same coats of arms are also visible outside the building on the facade overlooking the internal courtyard.  Above the four doors leading into the side rooms, there were medallions with oval canvases attributed to Magnasco, which subsequently have disappeared, together with all the furnishings of the time, during the many changes of ownership. Today in the hall it is preserved the altarpiece by Ponziano Loverini painted in 1914 for the chapel of the palace.

The upper hall faces the English garden and has the same dimensions and the same orientation as the central hall.

The villa was a holiday resort, and on the back, it forms a large rectangular courtyard that was once the Colleoni family's farm. The ancient part is the one that overlooks the park; the rest of the building was built in 1880. The central part underwent some changes at the beginning of the last century when one of the two symmetrical stairs leading to the upper floor was replaced. The villa is now open to the public as an event location.

The Colleoni family who commissioned and lived in the palace was a Guelph family, not related to Bartolomeo Colleoni. They moved to Cortenuova and had their own palace-farm built, giving the project to a local nobleman from Bergamo, Filippo Alessandri.

The front part of Colleoni Palace was used as a dwelling. The side wings, on the other hand, were used as stables for livestock, while the back of the building was mainly used for the breeding of silkworms. The family's main residence was in Martinengo, but it was sold to the hospital after the construction of Colleoni Palace. At the end of the nineteenth century the villa was sold to a general, then to a Genoese banker and finally to the mayor of Bergamo, Costantino Simoncini. Currently the front of the building is used as a restaurant, while in the rear part there are private homes.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

  • R. Caproni, Cortenuova, Pagazzano 1977, pp. 26 e 45.

  • R. Caproni, Cortenuova e la battaglia del 27 novembre 1237, Cortenuova 2007 pp. 122- 126.

 

SITOGRAPHY

scala 1
affresco 1
camino
affresco 2
scala 2
affresco 3
stemma famiglie