I choose a little “hostaria” for my lunch, where I had some grilled meat and potatoes…..I was one of the few guests because I went in early, and I had time to enjoy my meal in total peace….
Then, reinvigorated by lunch and a good coffee, I started to walk around till the opening of another museum I wanted to see. In Casalmaggiore there are lots of beautiful houses, some old, some new but built in style with the others, like this beautiful villa renovated in a somehow medieval art, housing an insurance company….
The church and convent of San Francesco, one of the first erected in honor of the saint, in its present appearance is a reconstruction and rebuilding in a new form of an existing church, which was destroyed during World War I, when a raging fire broke out inside, being used at the time as a warehouse for the troops. From the previous church , dating from the fourteenth century, remain the bell tower and the apse, which in the new building constitutes a transept. The lower part of the tower dates back to the first building of the church; the top tells us of remakes made at later dates. Next to the church, the convent of the Friars Minor of St Francis, built in the second half of the thirteenth century, a few decades after the death of St. Francis. In 1713 it was rebuilt by the Fathers Guardians Giovanni Battista and Angelo Favagrossa Molossi, since it threatened to fall down.
The present church, built by architect Boattini, retains a terracotta bas-relief originally placed in the chapel of the Annunciation. Again housed in the church are the works of art that were present in the old temple: The Immaculate by Malosso; San Francesco by Monti; Crocifissione e Sant’Anna con Maria ss.ma e s. Bonaventura by Muzzi; Crucifixion and St. Anna with Maria and ss.ma s. Gioacchino by Chiozzi; e Le Stimmate by Mastelletta; decorative frescoes by Zaist; a fourteenth-century fresco of St. Anne, the Virgin Mary and the Child; the old baptismal font of the lost church of San Giovanni Battista, the first parish of Casalmaggiore.
The old Public Palace (the City Hall) building began in 1720 in the same place where there was a lodge thought during the Venetian domination as a warehouse for the supplies that arrived here via Po before being traded inland Lombard, but never really used fot the purpose, because the surrounding land slided down. It unsafe until in 1891 they built the present Palace, in gothic, due to the generosity of the noble Leopoldo Molossi that dying in Milan in 1891 left the city his only heir; he tied a legacy of about a hundred thousand lire to the rebuilding of the Public Palace still unsafe. The new building was built following the project named Italia by architect Giacomo Misuraca of Palermo, with changes added by engineers Cesare Valenti and Cavour Beduschi. The total expenditure was of 161,643.90 pounds. The new City Hall still imposes its presence in the central Piazza Garibaldi, and has become the undisputed symbol of the city. It was inaugurated November 24, 1895. Inside are preserved ancient armor in the hallway of the main floor, where stands the Council Room, with coffered ceiling in wood and a large painting of the Oath of Pontida by Diotti; medallions of famous men of the city; John Baldesio framework of the seventeenth century; Deposition and St. Elizabeth of Giustina Ghislina (XVIII) century, Prudence and Justice
The bulk of the City Hall separates into two spaces a wide elliptical area that in the seventeenth century the Community acquired from the Royal Chamber. The greater part, the ancient Piazza Grande , is now Piazza Garibaldi. All around the central area are arranged columns and marble benches; a strip of marble that runs from one side of the ellipse is the plank , a meeting place, a Venetian reminiscence. Behind the Town Hall, the piazza Turati, small and quiet, almost in contact with the main bank of the river Po, commonly called the Old Square .
Again, looking around….
Palazzo Camozzi, powerful and soberly elegant
Palazzo Mina-Tentolini, once one of the residences of the Counts Favagrossa, a neo classical, powerful and elegant construction, in via Favagrossa adjacent to the Duomo, shows two entrances, windows with decorative metopes and pediment with allegorical bas-relief; a closed garden, enclosed by walls with obelisks. All of this forms the scenario very solemn, Canova style. Inside rich rooms with beautiful paintings by Natali, Alleati etc.The stucco on the facade seems to be attributed to Bossi and Giocondo Albertolli.The local chronicles tell that the Palace hosted Philip V of Spain (1702) during a visit to his possessions, Carlo Emanuele of Sardinia (1733); Isabella of Bourbon (1760); Amalia of Austria (1769). A plaque on the facade, at the center of the balcony, commemorates the visit of Giuseppe Garibaldi to the city in 1862 and the plea to the people to gather volunteers for hismission, the cry of “Rome or Death”. Between the end of the ‘800 and the beginning of ‘900 it was turned into a college. It is now a private residence.
And now, as the sky was darkening, it was time for the Diotti Museum…..