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Castiglione Olona (Varese): Castiglione Olona

Foto Castiglione Olona
Foto Castiglione Olona
Foto Castiglione Olona
Foto Castiglione Olona
Foto Castiglione Olona
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Places  of historical value  of artistic value around Milan (Italy): Castiglione OlonaLocated on two hills a few miles south of Varese, about halfway between the southern tips of Lake Maggiore and Lake Como, the village of Castiglione Olona has very ancient origins. According to a legend, even, it would date back to the year 401 after Christ, when the Roman general Stilicho installed a camp on whose traces the village developed.
As its name says, it is located at the river Olona.

A few years before the year 1000, a family invested in the fief of Castiglione Olona settled in the town. This family would later take the name of the town itself and, from this moment, its members will bring the surname "da Castiglione" or even just "Castiglioni". And it will be with this family that the city will become the protagonist of many historical events.

During the Middle Ages, Castiglione Olona, ??at that time equipped with a castle and defensive walls (the latter preserved in part up to the present day), is involved in the countless struggles and wars that characterize that period, especially those between the Visconti and Torriani families. The town is allied with Castelseprio, but also in conflict with it for some privileges that it claims.
Twice Castiglione Olona is besieged by the Milanese armies, but in both cases it resists.

The fame of Castiglione Olona is due almost entirely to Cardinal Branda Castiglioni, churchman, scholar and patron.
Born in 1350 in Milan, the life and the works of the cardinal will be, for the village of Castiglione Olona, something unique, whose reflections make him, even today, a key figure for the development of a town of enormous artistic and cultural value.
He transformed the town of origin of his family from a small agricultural village into a model town, enriching it with at their time state-of-the-art churches and buildings. To achieve this he hired artists and architects from Tuscany, in those times a beacon of culture and modernity at the European level. For this reason Castiglione Olona is also known as an island of Tuscany in Lombardy.

On the walls of the castle he built the Collegiata (Large Figure) and placed next to it a baptistery that frescoed by Masolino da Panicale, the most brilliant of the artists he hired. He enlarges his home, today Palace Branda (Fig. 2), to which he adds new part for his family. Finally, he renews the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, known as Villa Church (Fig 3) because it is located in the center of the central square of the city, in front of the Castiglioni Palace. He also builds a palace, behind the Church of Villa, where today the town hall is located, which is dedicated to the culture and education of young people. It is the palace known as the Scolastica (Fig. 4), in which, up until 1880, children who had talent but few or no means to develop it could get an education. Branda Castiglioni will place a scholastic at the head of the school at the expense of the Castiglioni family.

Further buildings will be built in what is, even today, one of the historic centers of greater artistic value of Lombardy. Finally, the Palace of the Castiglioni of Monteruzzo, known as the Corte del Doro, now hosts the only Italian, and perhaps even European, museum of plastic art, the MAP.

Vanno poi segnalati:

  • Monteruzzo Castle: Nineteenth-century building originally owned by the noble family of Castiglioni di Monteruzzo.
    The castle, located on a hill from which it is possible to admire the medieval part of Castiglione Olona, is currently used as a convention center.

  • Church of the Country Virgin: Built at the turn of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The main altar houses an altarpiece that is attributed to Morazzone by various experts.

In general the village is full of beautiful views, between ancient houses, gates and landscapes.

Categories: Places of historical value of artistic value


Castiglione Olona