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Museums of Como

Posted by Ciro Ianniello on November 3, 2016
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The museums of Como are a reflection of the culture and history of one of the most beautiful cities in Italy and the world. We invite you to visit them to deepen the relationship with this wonderful city. Let yourself be taken by the hand like a child and confidently crossed the river.

Volta Temple

Via Marconi , Como tel. +39 031 574705

Tempio Voltiano

The Volta Temple, opened in July 1928, was conceived as a new venue to house worthily the original scientific instruments of Alessandro Volta and the reconstruction of those destroyed in the fire that struck the Great Exhibition in 1899 Voltiana staged in Como for the Centenary of ‘invention of the battery.

Promoter and financier of the enterprise was the entrepreneur cotton Somaini Francis (1855-1939), who then donated it to the city of Como.

The designer was the architect Federico Frigerio (1873-1959), who wanted to carry out the work in a neoclassical style with a clear reference to the ancient Roman Pantheon. He wished that the building was worthy of the great Como scientist not only for the high scientific and educational value of the content, but also for its architectural appearance.

The temple takes the form of a circular room of almost 12 meters in diameter, surmounted by a dome central light; the salon and the colonnade that the fences, however, occupy a square area.

The plan “land” of the building is about two and a half meters above the ground level. This difference in height, is passed through two large scale symmetrical side to side of the porch that adorns the front of the Temple, and then leans on four Corinthian columns stone Aurisina.

Much of the materials on display are original Volta, still others are objects dating Volta or going back to the years immediately following; the collection is completed by some reconstructions, made in the early ‘900, to remedy the loss of the original, destroyed by fire in 1899.

The items on display are a complete collection of equipment, machines and tools relating to the invention of the battery, the fundamental contributions in the field of electrology, in the study of gases and their properties

The exhibition on the ground floor is divided on 15 windows, divided into several sections.

Educational Silk Museum

Via Castelnuovo, 9-22100 Como tel. / Fax +39 (0) 31 303 180

Museo Didattico della SetaThe Educational Silk Museum, which opened on October 4, 1990 collects, preserves, exhibits the testimonies of traditional textile production Como which machines, objects, documents, samples from the textile processes that characterize the city of Como seta.La exhibition area occupies about 1,000 square meters and shareholders exposed allows the reconstruction of historical and educational work of the silk.

The exhibition halls, as well as the exhibits inside them, offering visitors the opportunity to know, as fully as possible, not only the production process but also the individual working phases that characterize it. The structural dimensions of the space allowed in some cases the exposure of entire productive apparatus bulky and, in others, only parts of the same (however relevant for teaching).

A Museum of machinery really unique, a place of culture accessible to everyone with a full path and teaching. It has developed over time, expanding an initial project focused on the machines that now and in the future – thanks to the work of redevelopment of the office, for new exhibition rooms, a media library and new services – will make available collections of artifacts, the archive tissue samples and technical drawings, increased over the years and enriched by numerous donations.

Only Como can provide the path to the working of precious fiber that produced the wealth and charm of Como, Como because only has a work history and culture silky to tell, highlighting the high value craft and industry Como 1850-1950.

Giovio Museum

Piazza Medaglie d’oro 1, Como tel. +39 031 252550

The Archaeological Museum Paolo Giovio is housed in Palazzo Giovio, former residence of the Counts Giovio town. In 1894, in order to accommodate the civic museum and archive, notary, the building was rented by the Municipality of Como who bought it then in 1913.

The museum was opened in 1897, the section of the Historical Museum in 1932 and the opening of the Civic Art Gallery in 1989

The building, dating from the late Middle Ages, underwent some changes in the sixteenth century by Benedict Giovio but acquired its present appearance, which meets the standards of the late baroque Lombard, in the eighteenth century by Giovan Battista who opened the large windows in the facade and created a loggia above the door.

The type that is recognizable today in U, comprising a body facing the public area and two wings that define within a courtyard, open on the fourth side. This type is justified by the presence, on the back of the embankment of the Roman and medieval walls, which lent itself to being used as a garden terrace.

Dates back to the last decades of the eighteenth century the arrangement of the garden, with the completion of the steps and the nymphaeum.

The frescoes of the main floor reflects the tastes of the eighteenth century: the “hall Perrone” is entirely decorated with mythological scenes from famous paintings by Giovan Battista Rodriguez; next there is the music room, “Barelli room” decorated by quadrature architecture built by Joseph Coduri said Vignoli; other paintings by Rodriguez are placed in the “hall Giovio”. The “wedding hall” houses a series of frescoes by Giovanni Battista Ronchelli in honor of the marriage of Count Giovio with Chiara Parravicini.

Section Prehistoric and Protohistoric

The illustration of the evolutionary process that led to the appearance of mankind introduces the exhibition of archaeological material chronologically ordered, discovered in the Como area.

The first evidence of local, dating back to the Middle Paleolithic (60000-35000 years ago), are those found in Bagaggera at Rovagnate, and in the cave of the Buco del Piombo, in Erba. Two recent excavations on Mount Cornizzolo and Erbonne in Valle Intelvi, both sites frequented by hunters and gatherers 7,000 years ago during seasonal hunts, illustrate the Mesolithic period (8000-4500 years ago).

The Roman Section

In the halls of Palazzo Olginati takes place the exhibition devoted to archeology Roman.

Four small introductory rooms feature the new elements introduced by the Roman culture, unknown to previous Celtic culture: oil lamps, little scales of precision, figurines, blown glass with bright colors, fine tableware, frescoes. To these are added the decisive contribution of the spread of writing and of the Latin language, which is a true cultural leap.

Section of Collectibles

The section dedicated to collecting archaeological finds of the century presents different cultures acquired mostly thanks to the legacy of an important collector Como, Alfonso Garovaglio. This section currently are finds Egyptians, Greek vases and magno-Greeks, the bronzes, gems, and the collection of prehistoric I. Regazzoni.

The Lapidary Medieval and Modern

The section of medieval tombstones and modern is located in the porch and down the staircase of Palazzo Giovio. The city has been transformed over time, and so his buildings: some other no longer extant.

Remain stones, fragments of urban fabric of society and culture that now the museum contains and preserves. These coats of arms that once adorned the keystones of the palaces of Como, also figured tombstones, commemorative and dedicatory inscriptions, some of which resemble famous people or events of note.

Historical Museum Giuseppe Garibaldi

Square Gold Medals 1, Como tel. +39 031 252550

The Historical Museum Giuseppe Garibaldi is housed in Palazzo Olginati, building dating back to the fifteenth century; the property passed from the family De Curte, accounts Della Torre of Rezzonico until the fam. Olginati.

Luigi Olginati, member of the Municipal Commission for the formation and preservation of the Civic Museum, in 1853 ordered the renovation work trying to recover an ancient ruins; the current appearance, soberly elegant and richly decorated inside and outside is the result of that last intervention.

The building, along with the furniture and furnishings in the building, was donated by the Municipality of Como Olginati provided there was a museum to be dedicated to Giuseppe Garibaldi (in memory of the stay that the General did there in 1866).

At the Museum, opened in 1932, were added to the two covered walkways drivers Palazzo Giovio, thus creating an exhibition unit with the Archaeological Museum.

The exhibition of the Risorgimento began in 1884, when even the Civic Museum was located in the premises of the Liceo Volta. Later in 1897, inaugurated the museum of Palazzo Giovio, the materials were transferred in the dining Risorgimento.

In 1932 the collections of the Risorgimento were transported from building to building Olginati Giovio, and gave way to the new body Historical Museum, housed in the halls of the main floor.

Today’s exhibition organization in two sections Risorgimento and Contemporary History and Ethnography dates back to the sixties.

The first rooms are devoted to the pre-Risorgimento and the Risorgimento: departing from the Napoleonic you arrive to the time of the Carbonari movements; then switch to the room which is the central part of this route, namely that concerning the anti-Austrian uprising of 1848. The small room that follows is dedicated to the battle of San Fermo (1859), after which, the winner of the Austrians, Garibaldi went to Como.

The latter and his men is voted the room Epic Garibaldina, the dawn in Italy, the last acts of voluntarism of the red shirts in the Balkan Wars of 1912-13.

The second part of the course exposes the vicissitudes of contemporary history: with numerous weapons and various military equipment are represented in the wars of the ‘900 (starting with the campaigns of Africa (1887-1937)), and the World War I and II. The last two conflicts are metaphorically connected through the exhibition of memorabilia dedicated to the Heroes Comaschi.

The Folklore Section

Ethnographic objects, the local culture at various levels make up the catalogs of the museum from the beginning; but in 1968 he found an organic section.

The route starts from Sala Duomo, dominated by plaster casts of the podiums of Pliny the Elder and Pliny the Younger, made to run in 1911 by the architect. Federico Frigerio. This room and the next room Rovelli are used for temporary events.

The Hall Manzi exposes evidence relating to the XVII-XIX, particularly with respect to clothing both nobles of both commoners. Of great value a spinet eighteenth century belonged to the master Pasquale Ricci.

The Hall Olginati, or also known as the Green Room, is a sitting century in every way furnished (including ornaments and paintings) as that used dalll’antico owner of the building.

La Sala De Orc exposes heterogeneous objects related to clothing and accessories of the XVII-XIX.

The Hall Masier or also known as the Red Room, presents you with a valuable wall decoration came to light thanks to the restoration of the ceiling in the 60s.

Finally, two rooms off course offering lace and embroidery works from the seventeenth to the nineteenth century, and a charming Neapolitan crib eighteenth century.

Pinacoteca Civica

Via Diaz 84, Como tel. 031 269869 Fax 031268053

Pinacoteca CivicaThe building that houses it was built in the thirties of the seventeenth century on the initiative of Ulpiano Volpi, important Ecclesiastes at the Roman Curia. The project is due to a Sienese architect of birth but Roman by adoption, Sergio Venturi, known for the realization of the catafalque of Pope Paul V. The building has important dimensions to the historic center of Como and has a severe look enhanced by the beautiful portal ashlar. Has a plant to U with interior courtyard containing a nice porch to Roman. After being the noble house of the family Volpi and then the family Canarisi until the mid-nineteenth century, it was bought by the state, who used it as the seat of the court Judicial erecting the cells of prisoners over the beautiful garden. In the seventies of the twentieth century, it was later renovated and refurbished by the Municipality of Como to become a museum.

At the end of the eighties there were in fact gradually transferred paintings and sculptures from the Middle Ages to the twentieth century originally exposed or preserved in the Palace and the Palace Giovio Olginati.

The new office was opened in 1989 and in September 2003 was inaugurated the new section dedicated to the Middle Ages.

Over the following years were gradually set up the rooms of the other sections: Renaissance Fine Art Gallery, Novecento (to be completed).

The visit of Palazzo Volpi is the ideal starting point to start the knowledge of the art of the city and the territory.


Mediaeval is located on the ground floor of the south wing of the palace. Exhibits paintings and sculptures made from the end of the sixth to the fourteenth century.

The first are the Gothic frescoes from the Benedictine convent of Santa Margherita di Como (hall 0:10) and the collection of early medieval and Romanesque sculpture. Then there are important reliefs such as the stucco from the Romanesque church of Sant’Abbondio, the sundial from the monastery dell’Acquafredda Lenno (hall 0.7) plus a series of shelves and capitals Romanesque-Gothic (hall 0.8). Arranged with a chronological order or provenance, the section begins with the Romanesque portal of the church of Santa Margherita introducing us in an area where they are shown the teaching techniques and the reuse of stone artefacts (hall 0.2). The rest of the course is organized into three phases highlighted by light panels: the Early Middle Ages, which aggregates the halls 0.3 and 0.5; the eleventh and twelfth centuries they belong to the halls 0.6 and 0.7; and finally the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, which are voted halls 0.8 and 0.10.

Section Renaissance

Located to the right of the entrance, consists of three rooms on the ground floor in the east wing of the building. The central hall (0:12) exhibits 40 th century paintings (about 10%) of the “collection of portraits of famous men” belonged to the famous writer Paolo Giovio Como. The hall also houses four stained glass originally embedded in the walls of the Cathedral of Como and two Antelli of the church of San Giovanni Torno.

In the two side rooms are rather exposed works of artistic renaissance of the city of Como (0:13), and important works recovered from private collectors (0:11) such as a painting of the mid-fifteenth attributed to Pere Joan Reixach; a sixteenthcenturyC.XVIpainting Ambrosius Benson; a tapestry with the Birth of the Virgin from the Cathedral of Como, and a Book of Hours illuminated influence Milan.

The Picture Gallery

On the main floor of the Palace exposure is organized in 10 themed rooms cozy large paintings of sacred subjects and works from private collections. The set appears to be an adequate idea of the biggest artists in Como since the Counter-Reformation to the nineteenth century.

The hall (1.2), is dedicated to the exhibition of paintings from the chapel of St. Peter Martyr St. John Pedemonte, the Martyrdom of Saint Mark Recchi Brothers (1640), and the altarpiece of the church of San Marco in Borgovico .

The hall 1.3, devoted to painting in the second Cinquecento, glory are two works by the Milanese painter Giovan Pietro Gnocchi from the Dominican church of San Giovanni Pedemonte.

In the hall 1.4 gather five wooden models of the Duomo of Como recovered in the early nineteenth century, the old project tables dome and two seventeenth-century views of the city of Como.

The hall 1.5 offers three large paintings depicting Saint Helena in worship of the true cross, the Birth of the Baptist and the Gospel story of the Sinite parvulos with family portrait.

The hall 1.6 is dedicated to the Baroque and brings together works from the Milan-Como. It offers a significant journey on Baroque painting in the second half of the seventeenth century. Belong to this style of the Conforto sentenced Augustine Santagostino and the Blessing of the convicted of an anonymous Lombard artist.

The hall 1.7. is dedicated to the history of the portrait in the mid-sixteenth century and the first decades of the eighteenth century. Here you can enjoy the splendid and impressive portrait of Vespasian Gonzaga Colonna Prince of Sabbioneta (1531-1591), and the Portrait of a gentleman with gloves, probably a member of civil society assignable to the end of the first quarter of the seventeenth century. Then there are the seventeenth-century portrait of Calidonia Giovio Della Porta and his son Nicholas and the Portrait of Antonio Maria Parravicino 1742.

The hall 1.8 explains the spread of genre painting in Italy in seventeenth century: there are exhibited two vases with floral arrangements (1650-60) by Mario Nuzzi (1603-1673), said Mario dei Fiori, a great trophy hunting of Angelo Maria Crivelli said Crivellone, and two Battles of Antonio Calza (1653-1725).

In hall 1.9, the ties with the painting of Rome continue with the Consecration of Cardinal Joseph Pozzobonelli in the Basilica of SS. Ambrose and Carlo al Corso in Rome by Giovanni Paolo Panini (1691 / 92-1765), and the fascinating version of Vulcan by Pompeo Batoni (1708- 1787), completes the room’s Portrait of a Lady by Alessandro Magnasco.

The escursus closes with 1:10 room that is dedicated to the painting of the nineteenth century. We mention the portraits of Sigismund Nappi: Felicita Giovio, Flaminio de Orcs, and the couple Galeazzo and Eugenia Cattaneo The theme of the landscape is finally developed with four paintings by Francesco Capiaghi (1831-1898).

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