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Palazzo Ducale della Corgna in Castiglione del Lago

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If you are looking for Castiglione del Lago’s characteristic places, Palazzo Ducale della Corgna is mandatory.

It was built in 1563 by the will of Ascanio di Castiglioneafter he was appointed marquis – on a previous palace erected by the Baglioni family at the beginning of the XVI Century.

The della Corgna family initially conceived the palace as a secondary residence, a small mansion for leisure and holidays but – following certain events that caused the family to lose some properties – it became their main dwelling. There are conflicting evidences regarding the name of the architect:

Some sources believe the palace was designed by Vignola, while others ascribe the project to Alessi. The hypothesis of a collaboration is also on the table.

The floor plan has the shape of an upside-down “L” and had a south wing, where the various marquises in the family lived, and a west wing reserved to Cardinal Fulvio, brother of Ascanio. The place has four floors; at the bottom there were the cellars and the stables, the basement housed the kitchen and the food warehouse, while the bedrooms, halls, and audition rooms were on the first and second floor.

Between 1574 and 1590 Niccolò Circignani (known as the Pomarancio) and his painters frescoed eight rooms in the palace. The pieces depicted Ascanio’s heroic gestures, mythological scenes, historical events, all with beautiful and vivid colours.

The visit to the museum begins with the entrance room called Sala di Paride (the Room of Paris); on the vault we can admire the painting il Giudizio di Paride and other mythological figures inside the octagons. Here we also find a representation of the wedding of Diomede della Corgna and Porzia Colonna and some coats of arms. The following room celebrates the achievements of Ascanio, the brave forefather of the della Corgna family; his military and political exploits a depicted on 16 faux tapestries displayed on the walls of the room named after him. Another room depicts the  myth of Phaeton, the son of Apollo who – due to his inexperience – lost control of his father’s Sun Carriot causing many disasters, until Jupiter struck it with a lighting to stop him. The frescoes also portray the phases of the day, Dawn, Midday, Dusk, and Night and the four seasons.

In the Room of the Aeneid another myth is represented, the one of Aeneas, together with images celebrating the good work of marquis Diomede, adoptive son and nephew of Ascanio. This room is the result of the collaboration between Niccolò Circignani and Giovanni Antonio Pandolfi. In the Room of the Gods the most important image depicts Jupiter surrounded by the other gods of the Olympus and the zodiac signs. The Room of the Battle on Lake Trasimeno was the room of Ascanio II and it has some scenes from the battle of Tuoro in 217 BC between Hannibal and the Roman Army. In the old room of Laura della Corgna, sister of Ascanio, there is a painting of the myth of Proserpina; the Room of Pluto and Proserpina is a homage to Laura through the image of the fertility of the crater, as an appreciation for giving birth to Diomede, heir of the della Corgia dynasty. In the Room of Caesar we can admire a beautiful representation of the glorious life and tragic ending of the Roman Emperor. These frescoes were painted between 1589 and 1590 by Savini.

You cal also enjoy many more beautiful frescoes in the rest of the Palace, in the rooms that once were used to host events; they are Sala del Mondo alla Rovescia (the Room of the Upside-Down World), Sala delle Arti (Room of the arts), and Sala della Metamorfosi (the Metamorphosis Room) which are now part of the City Library.

From the Room of Caesar, we can stroll on the covered walkway built by the della Corgna family up to the Medieval Fortress.

Palazzo Ducale della Corgna is also famous for having hosted celebrities such as Niccolò Machiavelli and Leonardo da Vinci. Artists and scholars of all sorts were regular guests under Diomede I, including the writer and poet Cesare Caporali who used to spend lots of time with the della Corgna family; his work The Gardens of Mecenate, celebrates the beauty of the residence and its magnificent gardens.

Palazzo Ducale della Corgna belongs to the City since 1870 and it was recently restored.

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