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Casa Mazenta

Piazza San Giacomo, Giussano

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History and Architecture

Casa Mazenta is a little architectural gem, an excellent example of the renovation and urban revaluation of old buildings that have left a mark on the history of a city. The villa was built in a highly strategic position as it is located on the main route between Milan and northern Brianza and faces onto the city’s principal square, next to the “Casone”, the seat of economic and administrative power, and the church, the centre of ecclesiastic and cultural authority. Its first owners were the Giussani, a Milanese feudal family that gave its name to the town. It seems that the building was constructed at the behest of Giovanni Battista Giussani, between 1544 and 1565, and designed by Pellegrino Tibaldi (1527-96). The finest parts were the large internal portico formed by six groups of paired pink granite columns and the grand staircase with a marble balustrade. Originally the complex was laid out around a square courtyard, with the two-storey-high main building on one side, next to structures used as stables and other facilities. The large courtyard is flanked by gardens. Records in the archives indicate that in the 18th century a road behind the main house led to Giussano’s small lake, an area embellished with fountains. Over the centuries secondary constructions have been added to the original building, with an attempt to maintain the same architectural style. They included storerooms and warehouses used for commercial purposes. It is not clear in what period the ownership of the villa was transferred from the Giussani to the Mazenta family, as the records are not in agreement, but it seems that it was as a consequence of the marriage between Laura Giussani and Guido Mazenta. In 1741 the death of Giovanni Pietro Giussani without any male heirs marked the end of the original Giussani family. The noble house of the Mazenta also died out in 1875 and since then the house has passed through several hands, eventually becoming the property of the Maggioni family. In the 20th century the complex was progressively stripped of the surrounding land, leading to the construction of numerous buildings around it and near it. This was followed by a process of gradual decay and abandonment. In 1988 a plan of restoration was launched with the aim of preserving the morphological and architectural characteristics of the buildings, with a view to their utilization for residential and commercial functions and reinsertion in the social life of the city. Currently Casa Mazenta is the location of, among other things, a prestigious civic hall run by the municipality that hosts numerous initiatives, including conferences and thematic exhibitions.

Hours of opening to the public

Visits by appointment.