La Rocchetta Mattei

Rocchetta_08Rocchetta Mattei_foto Gabriele Zanarini (1024x678)

The mysterious castle of Count Cesare Mattei: politician, “healer”, alchemist and architect.

Bologna - 17 May 2017 - Karina Mamalygo

Over the centuries the land around the valley of the River Reno halfway between Bologna and Pistoia has held great strategic value. In the 11th century a fortress was constructed in the hills by Matilda of Canossa. It was on the ruins of this mediaeval structure that Cesare Mattei built his own castle in the 19th century.

 

Cortile dei Leoni © Gianluca Simoni

The Lion Courtyard © Gianluca Simoni

In 1849 this eccentric Bolognese aristocrat, entrepreneur and philosopher, found he was disenchanted with politics. He decided to abandon parliament and dedicate his life to the study of alternative medicine. The 40-year-old Count purchased the land and designed a castle in a style that reflected his ideals. These were the enjoyment of solitude while immersed in natural beauty and inspiring architecture. At the same time he carried out medical research and treated the sick. He called his “natural” medicine “elettromeopatia” but its secrets have not come down to us.

 

It is interesting to note that in his 1879 novel “The Brothers Karamazov”, Dostoyevsky has the Devil mention the name of the alchemist and doctor.

While complaining to Ivan Karamazov he states “I was so desperate that I wrote to Count Mattei in Milan. He sent me a book and some drops. May God bless him”.

 

The architecture of the castle is highly eclectic. It brings together neo-romantic and neo-gothic styles combined with Moorish and Oriental elements, along with touches of Art Nouveau. There are sculptured columns, carved balconies and statues of Lions that recall gothic Venice. Oriental motifs, inspired by Samarkand and Bukhara, are etched onto the walls in a type of stone lacework. There is a central courtyard with its Lion Fountain, where a marble plaque on the wall announces “the miniature reproduction of the courtyard of the Alhambra, the famous fortress of Granada”. While black and white arcades recall the marvellous mosques of Andalusia.

 

 Balconata Tomba del Conte © Gabriele Zanarini

The Count’s tomb balcony © Gabriele Zanarini

The Rose window with its portrait of Count Mattei shows him not only as the founder of the castle but also as an entrepreneur of the local bank the Cassa di Risparmio di Bologna.  In fact it was the same bank that financed the restoration of this architectonic gem between 2005 and 2014, providing us with an inspiring monument to aesthetic research and free spirit.

 

 

Rocchetta Mattei

Riola, Bologna

rocchettamattei-riola.it

Photo gallery

Related Post

Touching to comprehend, love and forgive "Eros is the essence of the artist's existence, eros is touch, eros is comprehension, eros is forgiveness, eros is the fusion of bodies and souls, eros is love". So says the Monten...
The Church of Saint Colombanus There is no other place quite like it like in Bologna. So many elements of history, religion, culture, and art come together here. This ex-monastic complex includes the Tagliavini ...
Man as a Bird. Images of Journeys Throughout history, we have expanded the boundaries of the visible and found new perspectives. The development of optics and the evolution of art have gone hand in hand, and artist...
Until the Word Is Gone «Until the Word Is Gone» is the title of an exhibition that will be held at Palazzo Zenobio in Venice. This year the palace will host the Armenian and Tibet pavilions, as part of t...
Map
Partners
×