Percorso pedonale in centro storico a Conegliano – “Conegliano Urbs Picta”

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In the Renaissance era, Conegliano was the protagonist of a process of architectural and urban renewal that reflected the favorable social and economic conditions of the territory, which, subjected to the dominion of the Serenissima, had long enjoyed the advantages brought by the long Venetian pax which had favored trade and agricultural rents. During this period there were many new buildings built in the Contrada Granda which had developed at the foot of the castle and numerous were the fresco interventions carried out in civil and religious buildings that transformed the city into a true Urbs picta. Despite the damage caused by time, atmospheric agents and wars, there are still numerous testimonies of Renaissance frescoes in the city that we will try to make you discover along this itinerary that begins on the top of the hill overlooking the city. Inside the Civic Museum housed in the Guard Tower, some detached frescoes are exhibited, of which, in this itinerary, we only point out those from the historic center of Conegliano. On the ground floor, in the Vazzoler Room, a fresco from the destroyed church of Sant’Antonio Abate di Conegliano which stood near the current Piazza Duca d’Aosta is exhibited, divided into seven panels. Painted around 1514 by Giovanni de Sacchis known as Pordenone (Pordenone c. 1483 - Ferrara 1539), it depicts the Madonna and Child (later made), Santa Caterina and Santo Agostiniano, Santa Maria Maddalena and San Tommaso Becket. On the upper floors are visible: - Dario da Treviso, Madonna Enthroned with Child, second half of the 15th century. The fresco comes from a wall of the landing that connected the new Palazzo Montalban, in via XX Settembre in Conegliano with the women's gallery of the Oratory of the Madonna della Salute. - Venetian painter of the first half of the fifteenth century, Madonna with Child between angels and devotee. Originally the fresco was located in a house now destroyed located on the left of the Cathedral of Conegliano; it was part of the hospice for pilgrims built by the Confraternity of the Battuti.

In the square of the Castle there is the church of Sant’Orsola which preserves traces of the frescoes of what, until 1757, was the Collegiate Church of San Leonardo. Indeed, among the surviving images, the saint of Limoges is recognizable. Let's now go down from the hill through the suggestive Calle Madonna della Neve. Where once there was the Porta della Castagnera, the church of the Madonna della Neve was built which gives the street its name. Inside you can admire a fresco painted in two different moments: in the center there is the Madonna del latte whose realization - datable shortly after the mid-fifteenth century - has been attributed to Giovanni Antonio da Meschio, while the musician angels and those who they hold the thurible and spacecraft were added in the sixteenth century by the painter from Conegliano Francesco Beccaruzzi. At the end of the calle, turn right into via Edmondo De Amicis. At number 3, in what is now a private home, there was the ancient headquarters of the Confraternity of the Blessed Conception. In what used to be the meeting room, there are frescoes depicting San Rocco, a holy bishop, the Virgin with the Child, Sant'Anna, San Sebastiano and San Francesco presenting the church; these were probably made at the beginning of the sixteenth century by Francesco Pagani, known as from Milan. A little further on, on the right, there is the staircase that leads to the former Convent of San Francesco. During the restorations carried out in the early 2000s, decorative frescoed elements came to light both in the walls of the sixteenth-century cloister and in the rooms used by the Inquisition Court. In addition, in the room used as a guesthouse, you can admire a plump San Francesco who welcomes visitors with open arms; finally, in the adjoining room, a fragment of a fresco has reappeared depicting St. Bonaventure of Bagnoregio, considered one of the most important biographers of St. Francis of Assisi.

Now let's go down the ladder that leads us to via Beccaruzzi, named after the Renaissance painter who lived here in the house now home to the Conegliano Alpini. Arriving at the square, turn left into via Cima which overlooks one of the first frescoed houses in Conegliano. You can recognize it on your right from the "regalzier", the decorative red brick element that began to be used in the Venetian territory from the second half of the fourteenth century. However, the layout of the building and the phytomorphic plant elements that decorate the band under the roof lead us to date the fresco to the 15th century. We continue to walk along the street that in the Late Middle Ages was inhabited by families belonging to the small bourgeoisie: artisans, traders, ... After passing Casa Cima where the famous Renaissance painter Giovanni Battista Cima lived (Conegliano, 1459/1460 - around 1517), the whose family produced fabrics, let's stop in front of the house on our left which has traces of frescoes on the facade. The restorations carried out a few years ago, in fact, brought to light - under different layers of plaster - phytomorphic elements arranged in a lozenge and, in the upper part, a coat of arms in the center of which a "Roman" is depicted, the unit of weight used in the steelyard, the balance whose functioning is based on the principle of levers, probable allusion to the profession exercised by the inhabitants of the house. At the end of the street, at the corner with Via Accademia, we meet Casa Sbarra, probably built in two phases from the end of the 15th century. Its facade was once completely covered with frescoes of which those protected by the projection of the roof are still clearly legible. The author could be that Dario da Treviso (around 1420 - Conegliano, before 1498), of which our territory retains many evidences. The decorative band of the attic, however, could be of another hand, identified by some as Girolamo Pennacchi (see Giuliano Martin, Conegliano frescoed, Vianello Libri, 1989).In the Sottoportico you can admire a Sacred Conversation and a Crucifixion, the attribution of which is still being discussed. Now let's go down to via XX Settembre, the ancient Contrada Granda, and turn right: the second building we will find is the medieval Casa Biffis: of the frescoes that originally decorated the entire facade, today only the band under the cornice that presents elements taken from the classical repertoire. A little further on, the current city cathedral overlooks the street; the original church and the meeting room above it were however built by the Confraternita dei Battuti in the 14th century. Many frescoed works have been preserved in this complex: from the decorative elements of the late fifteenth century present in the aisles to the images of San Lorenzo and Santo Stefano painted on the pillars inside the church, from the lunette depicting the Virgin among the Beaten above the entrance door to the decorative elements in the porch. However, there are two cycles of greatest value, both created to decorate the overlying Sala dei Battuti: - The façade represents the largest wall fresco in the whole of Veneto. Painted at the end of the 16th century by Ludovico Toeput known as Pozzoserrato, a Flemish painter who after having worked in Venice with Tintoretto and having stayed in Rome, settled in the Treviso area where he created important works of art. On this facade, above the Sibyls and the Prophets painted in the sails between the arches, he creates scenes from biblical episodes, in the center of which he places the representation of the Beaten who, invoking the Virgin, save a ship at the mercy of the storm, a clear allusion to heresies that undermined the very existence of the Church at that time. - The interior of the room was instead frescoed by Francesco da Milano with a cycle depicting the story of Christ, from his birth to the Last Judgment. The demolition of a wall necessary to expand the environment required the subsequent intervention of Pozzoserrato, who created the scenes of the Creation of the World, Creation of Adam and Eve and Original Sin, while the work of collaborators The Annunciation, the Visitation and The Nativity painted on the shorter side of the room. A little further on, still on via XX Settembre, but on the other side of the street, stands Palazzo Graziani, now Bidasio Zoppas, whose recent restoration has brought to light the frescoes with decorative elements, a pastoral scene and a female figure in the background red made between the end of the 15th and the beginning of the 16th century. Now retracing our steps, at the corner with Piazzetta XVIII July 1866, we will be able to admire Casa Dalla Balla now Piutti decorated with sixteenth-century frescoes depicting decorative elements and characters with caricatured features. After passing Piazza Cima and the side Via Sbarra - overlooked by the former fire brigade building, whose fifteenth-century wall decorations were to refine what was originally the ancient municipal building - we will find ourselves surrounded by frescoed houses: on our left Palazzo Grimani Vettori which shows off the cardinal's galero and the coat of arms of the Grimani family in the upper part, while in the lower bands polychrome and monochrome scenes have recently re-emerged including the She-wolf with Romulus and Remus, an appropriate subject for this important Venetian family that had vast properties and political connections in Rome; to our right instead is Casa Colussi, former seat of the Knights of the Podestà, which still has important traces of the fresco decoration that once covered the facade with allegorical scenes, floral compartments and festoons. Recent restorations have brought to light frescoes also in the interiors. Under the portico you can admire a fresco with an unusual iconography: on the same large marble throne with Renaissance-style decorative elements sit a severe Virgin and Child on the right and the Eternal Father holding the crucifix on the left. A little further on we find Palazzo Sarcinelli on the left, which has sixteenth-century frescoes in the entrance hall, counter-façade and noble floor, some of which attributed to Riccardo Peruccolo (Zoppè, between 1515 and 1520 - Conegliano, 1568), an unfortunate local artist condemned to to be burned at the stake because considered a heretic. On the opposite side of the street there are other buildings decorated with frescoes, witnesses of the ancient Urbs picta; in fact the images of a young woman reading, of a knight and of Adam and Eve are still clearly visible. A little further on, on the left side of the street is the ancient Monte di Pietà, frescoed in 1525 by Ludovico Fiumicelli (1500 ca - 1582) with the Pietà and Angels regulating the instruments of the passion. The road - and our itinerary - closes with Porta Monticano or del Leone, so named for the image frescoed by Pordenone in the niche batti ponte.


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