Municipal building

  

The new Town Hall was built in 1889, basing on a project by the architect and engineer Domenico Dusnasi, from Vercelli, and largely donated by the Cappa family (the old municipal building, then demolished since 1965, was on the corner of the current Via Vittorio Emanuele II and Via Roma). It was designed from the outset to make a significant contribution to the planned urbanization, which was set on the current Via XXVI Aprile, the new road link (1882) between the village and the station of the Vercelli-Mortara-Pavia railway line (in those years recently inaugurated and active) and for the dual use of municipal offices and schools.
The designer managed to solve all the requests of the municipal administration through a simple almost rectangular plan, with the long side facing the main street for the entrance of the premises for school use, divided into two sections for males and females with entrances dedicated, and the short side, facing south on the square in front, created specifically to isolate more the building, reserved for access to administrative and representative offices.
The main facade, of architectural aspect, and of great formal balance, is divided horizontally in two orders, the rustic one on the ground floor has a portico with three arches with a fake ashlar wall, the other noble on the first floor, is characterized by a theory of Ionic binate pilasters in correspondence of the pillars below, all crowned by the entablature; vertically, the façade is tripartite, with slight surplus and further compositional complexity of the central body, where a further inner frame, supported by two pairs of paired Doric columns without a base, highlights the middle arch, the paired Ionic pilasters on the first floor become semi-columns, while beyond the entablature stands the tympanum decorated with the emblem of the municipality. The vaguely neo-gothic motif of the balcony railing gives that touch of monumentality elegance to the whole.
The same scan with two overlapping orders is resumed, net of decorative details described, also on the long side, where on the ground floor the arched ashlars stand out, while at the close-up stand out the continuous sequence of frames and window lintels.
Inside, climbing the grand staircase, whose walls feature a large municipality emblem and various memorial plaques, all lit up by a broad space windows and a simple chandelier, you can enter directly into the council chamber; it contains representations and memorabilia of the historic battle, including uniforms, field accessories recovered after the fighting, bullets and cannonballs, publications, medals, scrolls and a rich collection of prints; noteworthy is the gonfalon, preserved in a special case, and a large Murano glass chandelier, hanging from the center of the vault. Of considerable interest the municipal historical archive, among whose papers are stored the sketches received from the participants at the national competition for the construction of the Ossary monument announced in 1891.

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DOCUMENTARY AND BIBLIOGRAPHIC REFERENCES

  • Palestro's parish archive
  • Palestro's municipal archive
  • AA.VV., Palestro, numero unico, Gallardi e Ugo Editori, Vercelli 1893 (rist. 1961, 1974, 1989)
  • AA.VV., Memorie di un architetto, Torino 1897
  • R. Orsenigo, Vercelli Sacra, Vercelli 1909
  • G. Battezzati, Palestro, Gallardi, Vercelli 1921 (rist. 1991)
  • E. Zambelli, Memorie sulla storia antica di Palestro, Paltrinieri, Novara 1959
  • E. Zambelli, Palestro - memorie cronistoriche, S.E.T.E., Vercelli 1970
  • E. Zambelli, Palestro - memorie cronistoriche, supplemento al 1° volume, S.E.T.E., Vercelli 1971
  • M. Merlo, Castelli, rocche, case-forti, torri della Provincia di Pavia, Volume Primo, Editrice Fusi, Pavia 1971
  • A. Bongianino, Palestro, la Festa del Castello, Palestro 1975
  • V. Cervetta (a cura di), Ossario di Palestro (1893-1993), Comune di Palestro, 1993
  • E.Zanone, Palestro 1940-1945, Gallo, Vercelli 1995
  • AA.VV., Parrocchie allo Specchio, Saviolo, Vercelli 1996
  • AA.VV., Approfondimenti di storia palestrese, Comune di Palestro, 1998
  • E. Zanone, Le chiese di Palestro, Vercelli 2003
  • AA.VV., 1006-2006 La chiesa Parrocchiale di Palestro, Vercelli 2006
  • E. D. Vicini, Educazione forma e decoro: le scuole lomelline del secondo ottocento al primo novecento, in Viglevanum, Anno XXVIII, aprile 2018

Text Arch. Riccardo Pasquino
Photography Andrea Fornasini
Translations in english by the I° Grade Secondary School F. Ressico of Palestro. (School year 2018-2019)

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