Villa Bagatti Valsecchi. A mansion located between Via Gesu and Via Santo Spirito in Milan, Barons Fausto and Giuseppe Bagatti Valsecchi’s extraordinary collections showcasing their love for the past and the Italian Renaissance including fifteenth and sixteenth century paintings and decorative arts. Marvellous and rare that a home and its contents are kept together. They began their collections in 1880.
Entrance stairwell with wrought iron balustrade, leading to the first floor of the mansion. The main living areas of the mansion were shared, but each brother had their own suite, giving each their own private space. A grand main entrance faces the other street, which allowed a separate entrance for each brother, but it is no longer in use and this is the entrance from the Museum shop.
View back to the stairwell.
Each room had entirely different details, such as the ceiling, floors and door frames. This is the first room of Fausto’s suite, the Room of the Fresco.
Details – original custom fabric walls of the Belivacqua Room, carved and gilded door frames, inlaid wood doors, marble floors.
First room named “Room of the Fresco” for this 1495 painting of the Madonna of Mercy from a chapel in Bergamo by artist Antonio Boselli. This room was used as a family chapel for baptisms.
Detail – inlaid wood door with skeleton.
Fausto Bagatti Valsecchi (1843-1914) bedroom. Important pieces of the collection include the Valtellinese Bed from the Visconti Venosta mansion, and sixteenth century polyptych of Virgin and Child.
Detail – marble floor with “fringe” border tile to look like a carpet.
Ceiling and marble arch details.
Labyrinth Passage room – the ceiling maze detail based on a ceiling in a sixteenth century ducal palace of Mantua.
Cupola Gallery – cupola skylight floods a dark windowless room with natural light. This gallery links the two brothers private suites and flanks the Grand Salon.
Important Majolica collection including the serpentine handle vases from 1678 by artist Ippolito Rombaldoni.
Valtellinese Fireplace – Wood wall panelling from a centuries old home in Sondrio, with the latin engraved quote from St Augustine. This was the Sitting Room of Guiseppe Bagatti Valsecchi (1845-1934) and his wife Carolina Borromeo – they had five children, the last of their descendants lived in the mansion until 1974 when the Bagatti Valsecchi Foundation was created by son Pasino (who was in his 70s) and left the mansion and its entire contents of his ancestors to be enjoyed as one of Europes best historic house museums and a grand expression of Milanese Design, opened in 1994. Operated as a non-profit organization with a focus on historic and artistic merit, heirs are still represented on the board.
View through the rooms of the private suite.
The Red Room – a grand Sicilian gilded wrought iron matrimonial bed with paintings and decorative objects from the fifteenth and sixteenth century.
The Green Room – Giuseppe’s private bedroom, as was usual for aristocratic gentlemen of the day.
View from the Grand Salon to the Arms Gallery.
Grand Salon details – elaborate carved door frames, wood panels, lighting – in fact great effort was put into the lighting including the large chandelier and wall sconces and these super cool lamps – all originally gas – the brothers followed technological advances and were one of the first houses in Milan to convert to electricity.
Double height ceilings, marble floors and wood panelling – no expense spared in the largest room of the mansion.
Dining room – walls are lined with four large panels from what was originally two large tapestries from 1570. A door leads to a side room that has a dumbwaiter that sent things up and down from the kitchen below (not in view and no access).
Arms and Armoury – another wonderful skylight highlight the collection – the focus on blades instead of firearms in keeping with their interest in Renaissance period.
For more on the Bagatti Valsecchi Museo and its collections.
Open Tuesday to Sunday 1:00-5:45 at the time of my visit.
My name is Sue Womersley and I am and Interior Designer in White Rock/ South Surrey, BC sharing my love of design, photography and travel with you. decorata.ca
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