The fine mansion of Villa Ronchi in Breno
Since 1946, Villa Ronchi has been the townhall of Breno, in the province of Brescia. The Ronchi family gave it to the local community, as a result of the events after World War II. The mansion was planned according to Neoclassicism, with hints of Eclectic taste, very common at the beginning of the 20th century. The designer is Fortunato Carnevali, who collaborated on the project with the owner, Giovanni Antonio Ronchi, building contractor and first manager of the Valle Camonica Bank. The medal upon the entrance portal is engraved with his initials.
The exterior of the Villa is graceful, with a play of grey shadows created by different materials, like granite and marble, completed by the black small lines of wrought iron contrasting with the warm colors of the walls. The balanced central unit, supported by two lower sides, is highlighted by a large staircase, connected to the upper balcony with slender cast-iron columns.
The wooden doors and windows are originals. In the entrance hall, there is a painting with “Moses rescued from the water” (XVIII), attributed to Andrea Celesti, bestowed from Cattina Ronchi to the Municipality of Breno. The large staircase is made of fine Botticino marble, the same as the “Altare della Patria” or “Vittoriano” in Rome. It leads to the upper floor, where the rooms are decorated with frescos of flowers, landscapes, schematic motifs and coats of arm belonging to various Italian cities. Maybe a homage to the recent national Unification (1861). The painter is unknown. Otherwise, we know the decorator of the “Salone della Musica”, “The music hall”, Ponziano Loverini, from the near city of Bergamo.
The series represents the “Allegory of dramatic music” (1865), a woman holding an instrument called “cetra”, or cithara, surrounded by little playing angels, and some Italian masters of the grand opera, such as Verdi, Puccini, Bellini, Rossini, Ponchielli, Donizetti and Mascagni. There’s also a stone fireplace, carved by Canevali. In the dining room, at present the mayor’s office, there is the “Allegory of the toast” (1896), with country scenes on the stuccoes. The outside garden was conceived by the renowned architect Vittorio Montiglio Taglierini.