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Villa Melzi, Bellagio, Como

Restoration of private chapel

The private chapel of Villa Melzi is found at the entrance of the garden complex, on the southern edge of the estate, near Loppia pier. Built between 1814 and 1820 upon a design by architect Giocondo Albertolli, the chapel has a Greek cross plan dominated by a dome, and is deprived of a bell tower. Its southern front facing the lake features a Doric tetrastyle pronaos made of Saltrio grey stone. It is styled after the Directoire Style, i.e. the latest purist phase between Neoclassicism and Pre-Romanticism, where the canons of classical architecture are respected and any rhetorical decorations are rejected to the benefit of pure lines. Inside the church, the three funerary monuments of Francesco Melzi by Nesti, Giovanni Melzi by Benzoni and Lodovico Melzi by Vela stand on the arms of the cross plan. The chapel is decorated by Giuseppe Bossi with stucco works and paintings. Other artworks include the Redeemer by Comolli, who also executed the Carrara marble altarpiece depicting the Holy Family with Saints Elizabeth and John the Baptist (the four corner angels are the works of young Pompeo Marchesi). Chiaroscuro decorations representing the Eternal Father above the main altar and the Evangelists on the pendentives were designed by Bossi and executed by Angelo Monticelli. The former is also the author of two cartons placed at the entrance of the church, an over-door lunette with the Blessed Virgin and Child, Saint Bernard, another saint and a Pietà. Two bas-reliefs decorate the entrance of the chapel: one is by Gerolamo Tadini and is dedicated to the young count Carlo Melzi d’Eril; the other is by Benzoni and is dedicated to duchess Maria Artemisai Durazzo. The ceiling features stucco rosettes inside octagons and four-point stars matching the pattern of the marble mosaic floor.


Realization: 2016