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Bellusco (Monza e Brianza, Italy): Castle of Bellusco

Foto Castle of Bellusco
Foto Castle of Bellusco
Foto Castle of Bellusco
Foto Castle of Bellusco
Foto Castle of Bellusco
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Places  of historical value  of artistic value around Milan (Italy): Castle of BelluscoThe Castle of Bellusco represents an example of fortified architecture from the Sforza era in Brianza.

The date of construction of the first version of the castle is almost certainly prior to the date, 1467, which can be read on a plaque inserted in the wall of the entrance tower above the entrance. This date should be interpreted not as the date of foundation but rather as the year in which important castle modernization works were completed.
The castle remained in the hands of the Da Corte family, of Bellusco but with strong connections with Milan and the ducal court, until 1529. In that year Francesca da Corte, widow of Ludovico da Corte, married Giulio Cesare Carcano, a wealthy Milanese nobleman who received the castle and the related land properties as a dowry.
The Carcano family remained the owner of the castle until the beginning of the nineteenth century, except for a short period of a few months, when for reasons of debt the castle ended up in the hands of Francesco and Giulio Vimercati, a period during which the castle was stripped of many assets.
In 1631 the castle was under siege by two hundred Spanish soldiers in the service of the governor of Milan Gomez Suarez, duke of Feria. The vain assault on the castle, protected by high walls and surrounded by a moat, ended with the sacking of the village and the devastation of the church of San Martino.
In 1817 the property was divided between six different owners, later reduced to three. In 1836 the Marquis Gaetano Perego of Cremnago, one of the owners, transformed his part into a rural farm factory, with the consequent subdivision of the large hall of the north wing into four separate rooms, while other parts were used as accommodation for the peasants. Furthermore in that year the moat was filled on all sides except the eastern one, still partially visible in the early twentieth century. Until the end of the nineteenth century, the castle was part a farm, part holiday home and a third part a private residence.
With the passage to the twentieth century the castle became entirely used as accommodation for farmers. This led to the distortion of its structure and the loss of many vestiges of the past, with various rooms used as warehouses, barns and the like.
In 1928 the castle was finally subjected to historical-architectural constraint by the government, so that it could be placed under protection. Towards the end of the twentieth century, the entire structure was purchased by the municipality, which began a gradual recovery.

The castle has a rectangular plan, with the southern side however not parallel to the northern one, but rotated about 15 ° counterclockwise. And the western and eastern sides are also not exactly parallel.
The current appearance of the castle depends heavily on the changes made in the nineteenth and first twentieth centuries. However, the overall structure, as well as various individual elements, are still from the Sforza era. In particular, the central avant-corps, with traces of the ancient drawbridge, the southwest corner tower, the Ghibelline battlements on the main front (the southern one), the (walled) portico with pointed arches are still from the Sforza period.
Originally the castle was equipped with a secondary entrance that gave onto a garden that no longer exists and a deep moat, full of water until 1727.
The best preserved part of the castle is the rectangular central avant-corps at the base of which is the entrance. Above the latter there are still the two vertical slits through which the chains that raised the drawbridge passed. Exactly in the center between the slits there is a carved marble plaque, with the coat of arms of the Da Corte family framed between the letters "M" and "A". The structure of the coat of arms is very complex: there is a parchment on which three hills are depicted with an olive branch on the tip of each. Above the parchment there is a medieval helmet on which in turn rests an arm enclosed in an armor. To enrich the whole three garlands of curled leaves. Below, finally, an epigraph that reads: "Laude a dio martini da conte ma facto/ Non a offension di persona alcuna/ Solo a riparo de ogni suo disfacto/ 1467".
Inside, on the counter-façade there are still the stairs that led to the walkways (Fig. 2). Looking from the inside you can see how the changes made over the centuries have made the structure very complex.

The south-west tower is also very close to the original version, although already in ancient times it underwent a rise (clearly recognizable also from the outside due to the slightly different color of the bricks of the higher part). With a square plan, at its base there is a room with a barrel vault and a window with railings. The upper part was accessible only through ephemeral external scaffolds, so as to be more easily insulated.

In the north east corner you enter the cellar. It extends under the entire northern body of the castle and is equipped with a brick barrel roof.

The best preserved interior space of the castle, and also the most decorated one, is represented by the so-called Hall of Fame (Larger picture and Fig. 4). It is located at the northwest corner of the building and has a rectangular plan. The ceiling and the upper part of the walls are decorated with frescoes made in two different eras.
On the walls there are noble coats of arms depicted inside laurel wreaths held together by long cords. This cycle of frescoes was probably painted in the last years of the fifteenth century.
On the ceiling, on the other hand, there are imaginative grotesque decorations caged within triangular and rectangular geometric panels, the latter then separated from each other by colorful bands in fake marble style and thin garlands of leaves. These decorations, typically Renaissance, are thought to have been painted in the third decade of the sixteenth century.
In the center of the ceiling (Fig. 4) there is an allegorical representation of the fame (hence the name of the room), depicted in the form of a winged female figure with a tuba and a book, her traditional iconographic attributes.

Categories: Places of historical value of artistic value

20882 Bellusco MB
Further pictures of Castle of Bellusco in the section Photography
Bellusco (Monza e Brianza, Italy): Internal court of the Castle of Bellusco seen from the central avant-corps
Bellusco (Monza e Brianza, Italy): Interior of the central avant-corps of the castle of Bellusco
Bellusco (Monza e Brianza, Italy): Fresco of the allegory of fame in the Castle of Bellusco
Bellusco (Monza e Brianza, Italy): Renaissance frescoes on the ceiling of the Hall of Fame in the Castle of Bellusco