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Villa Castelbarco

(*) Villa Castelbarco is a beautiful  country villa near the Martesana Canal, where it is still possible to see deer running free in the park.
It seems that the site where the Villa Castelbarco was built had been the place of an important and ancient monastery. That is very important to give evidence of the monastic origins of this Villa.
Villa Castelbarco is composed of buildings, large gardens, monastic and aristocratic buildings, churches and, at the very far end, the area where the servants lived.

(**) The transformation of the monastery into a villa was carried out in the late XVII century by Count Simonetta.
The reconstruction of the little church and the belltower, the realisation of the Esedra and the service court dates back to the same period.
The Count payed particular attention to the church, the style of the interior is baroque with frescos on the walls and ceilings and a massive use of colorful marble.
In the middle of the church are kept Count Simonetta and his nephew's Giuseppe Castelbarco's ashes.
The villa gained notoriety and prestige and in 1736 the garden became a hunting ground for Maria Teresa D'Austria and a holiday place for Duke Francesco II, the governor of Lombardy.
In the late XVIII century Francesca Simonetta married Cesare Castelbarco and brought as dowry the villa and the big garden.
Count Cesare Castelbarco, who loved art and literature worked in 1804 at a massive renovation, extending and decorating the halls, doubling the southern wing with the realisation of a lemon orchard and greenhouses, and built on the plain on the side of the big terrace two houses in Imperial style,which were used as theaters and museums.
Even the garden was renovated, with the realization of large boulevards flanked by statues, small artificial lakes and small temples in the romantic taste of the age.
Without any doubt, the most stunning thing in the villa are its beautiful basements, realized by Cesare's nephew, Carlo Castelbarco, between 1835 and 1837, to amaze his guests.
In the basements there are five themed halls, the Roman hall, The Sea hall, the Renaissance hall, the Egyptian hall and the Etruscan hall, one Oratorio and hypogeum caves.
The halls are covered with mosaics made up of river rocks, shells and some valuable objects while the caves are entirely covered with rocks to produce a natural space, like a real cave.
To complete the structure water plays and fountains were made to refresh and amuse the guests.
The basements were meant as a complex system of  spaces linked to the villa's amusement places.
Two twin-stairs led from the caves to the interior of the Theater and the Museum, while a long hallway at the end of the basements led up to the villa and to the botanic garden.
In the late XVI century the villa was inherited by the Massimini family, and later to the Quintavalle, who owned it until the end of the 1960's.
Quintavalle family built the hall, the walls which enclose the property and a hippodrome in the frontal part and a long boulevard with trees in front of the entrance.
Nowdays the property is kept by the society “Eventi in Villa s.r.l.”.

Traduzione di V. Martelli (*) e A. Mustacchio (**), nell'ambito del progetto di Alternanza Scuola - Lavoro tra la Proloco di Vaprio d'Adda e il Liceo Linguistico ITSOS Marie Curie di Cernusco sul Naviglio