FOSSANO, Palazzo Burgos di Pomaretto
The Palace and the Urbanic Layout
The elegant Palace called “Palazzo Burgos in Pomaretto” is located in the south-eastern quarter of the town, where in the past some of the most prestigious buildings used to stand, in fact, today's “Via Bava San Paolo” was once called 'via de' nobili', that is Nobles’ street. This area was also home to the convent and church of the Conventual Franciscans, which were then suppressed in Napoleonic times. This was the largest block in the concentric town area, and it was later subdivided and converted into a noble residence. From the outside the building looks mighty and majestic almost holding back its superior rank, in the name of sense of discretion, which is typically Piedmontese. Openings and refined elements are limited to the interior spaces destined for reception, leisure and pleasure. Palazzo Burgos, in particular, up to a few years ago, used to have a grandiose garden, whose well has lived up to today. Scholars have defined it “the most precious green area in the town”, but it was later transformed with the demolition of the Franciscan church.
Hallway and staircase
On the inside the space distribution displays the typical elements of the 18th-century civil architecture: entrance hall, portico, staircase, gallery, salon. The interior pictorial decoration develops around the events of the myth of Orpheus; the frescoed subjects are arranged along the Palace rooms following the succession of the route travelled by the protagonist. The entrance hall is dimly lit and frescoed like a cavern and thus can be compared to the darkness of the kingdom of shadows. In the hallway visitors are welcomed by mock architecture features with antique elements such as obelisks, sphinxes and mythological figures: Leda and the swan, Zeus and Io, the Dioscuri. Delicate glimpses ideally open up the spaces with circular openings showing the sky crossed by flights of butterflies, ferns and tufts of grass. The alternation between architectural views and natural vistas continues also along the staircase. Here the mixture of real and painted elements must have been even more evident in the past when there used to be a luxuriant garden inside the palace. On the vault of the staircase, allegories of work and love accompany and lead visitors to the entrance hall on the first floor, where the painted busts of Homer and Alfieri stand proudly to welcome them.
The Hall of hounour
The most spectacular room is undoubtedly the Hall of Honour, which is entirely painted with allegorical themes. The vault is frescoed with the genealogy of the gods, with Zeus in a central position, flanked by Cronos, Hera, Athena and the goddess Fortuna. Lower down there are Aphrodite, Ares, Eros, Hermes, Demeter, Artemis and Dionysus and they are all characterised by the iconographic attributes typical of the myths. In the lowest part there is an environment characterised by lush vegetation; this can be traced back to Arcadia, with the nine Muses enraptured by the music of Orpheus, the greatest zither player of all time who, as Apollonius Rodius said, 'bewitched the hard rocks of the mountains and the currents of the rivers with the sound of his songs'. The ferocious and exotic beasts painted in the rest of the room also refer to Orpheus' ability to bewitch with music: camels, tigers, hyenas, ostriches, which are sometimes painted with a clumsy brushstroke, while the fauna of the alpine ecosystem appears more real, thus letting us suppose that the anonymous painter was probably from this area. Along the walls, the natural environment gives way to caryatids and statues of Diana, Orpheus, Aphrodite, Poseidon, Athena and Perseus, each paired with a panel illustrating their allegorical symbols, like fascinating still life paintings.
Fossano Musica Foundation
Nowadays “Palazzo Burgos in Pomaretto” houses the Foundation called Fossano Musica, which has inherited the baton from the Civic Music Institute, named after Vittorio Baravalle, a composer from Fossano, who lived between the second half of the 19th and the first half of the 20th century. In the early 2000s the municipality of Fossano and the CRF Foundation were the protagonists of this rebirth as they together gave life to a school able non only to satisfy the town's love for music but also to grow and develop offering a broader programme and a higher-and-higher level didactic proposal to accompany students along the path of their musical growth from first steps to advanced training. Today, the Fossano site alone offers over 35 music courses held by 90 teachers to its more than 900 students and is among the largest and most prestigious music institutes in Piedmont.
Direction: Paolo Ansaldi
Post-Production: VDEA Produzioni
Translation: Europa 92
Copywrite and research: Laura Marino
Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Fossano