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Besana in Brianza (Monza e Brianza): Villa Fossati

Foto Villa Fossati
Foto Villa Fossati
Foto Villa Fossati
Foto Villa Fossati
Foto Villa Fossati
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Places  of historical value around Milan (Italy): Villa FossatiVilla Fossati is located in the fraction Villa Raverio of Besana in Brianza, in the locality Rigola, isolated in the middle of the countryside and in a slightly raised position.
Its importance is above all historical, since in 1890 it was bought by Don Carlo San Martino who transformed it into a summer climatic health home for poor children. Over time the complex was enlarged and became a school.
It is currently the headquarter of the Don Carlo San Martino Parity School.

The original core of the complex was built by Giovanni Antonio Riva, who also built the adjoining oratory of the Virgin of Snow ("Oratorio della Madonna della Neve") (Fig. 5)
The villa later became the property of the Marquis Fossati de Regibus who in the mid-eighteenth century renovated it in sober eighteenth-century lines already tending towards the neoclassical.
During the nineteenth century the Counts of Mayno took over, who in 1890, as already mentioned, sold it, together with all the annexed land, to Don Carlo San Martino, founder of the Institute of the Sons of Providence, who destined it as a place of care for poor children. Unfortunately, this commendable use was associated with modifications and additions that were not in line from the stylistic point of view and which caused significant failures from the historical-artistic point of view.
Still in the nineteenth century the south block was added, on three floors and arranged in the direction of the oratory. This wing was made in a very sober eclectic style and in fact fits in well with the original part.
In the twentieth century, however, an additional imposing wing was built, heading east, unfortunately not in style with the rest, but on the contrary in an aseptic and sad modernist style.
Inside there are some relevant rooms: the historical library (Fig. 3) and the benefactors' rooms (red and green room, respectively Fig. 4 and larger picture). The green room houses various paintings by Stefano Stampa, painter and stepson of the writer Alessandro Manzoni.

The entrance gate (concave shape of the masonry and central pillars surmounted by vases in molera stone) is in eclectic neo-Baroque style, at the end of a path that detaches from the municipal road and flanks the head of the eighteenth-century minor wing readapted as a porter's lodge.

The park is remarkable. The original villa saw the presence of only its western part, characterized by a structure with artificial terraces arranged according to regular, if not geometric, patterns.
Already during the ownership of the Mayno it was enlarged towards the valley and reworked in the more free forms of today.
In the park there are numerous tree species, with various large specimens.

The oratory of the Virgin of the Snow ("oratorio della Madonna della Neve"), separated from the main body of the villa, is located a few dozen meters from it, inside the park.
It contains the remains of Teresa Borri (married Stampa in the first wedding), second wife of Alessandro Manzoni.
After a period of neglect it has recently been restored. The facade (Fig. 5) is sober and simple, but not without elegance. On the top there is a large pediment with the Riva-Finoli coat of arms in stone in baroque forms, with decorative scrolls.
The interior, with a single hall, is not without some elements of refinement: the presbytery is separated from the nave by a polychrome marble balustrade and the altar is surmounted by a large wooden retable decorated with cherub and lion heads, vegetable and geometric elements and with a large altarpiece depicting a Madonna and Child in the center. On the sides there are two carved wooden statues, of San Rocco on the left and of another saint on the right.

Categories: Places of historical value


Via Giacomo Leopardi, 59 Besana In Brianza MB, Italia
Further pictures of Villa Fossati in the section Photography
Besana in Brianza (Monza e Brianza, Italy): Park of Villa Fossati