One of the most important cultural Modenese institutions, the Collegio was established in 1626 for the education of the young aristocrats. Among its famous scholars, Bernardino Ramazzini (the founder of industrial medicine) and men of letters such as Ludovico Antonio Muratori and Ippolito Pindemonte. The Collegio coincided with the University until Duke Francesco III decided to create a ducal institution in 1772.
The building work started in 1664 from the plans by the famous Roman architect Bartolomeo Avanzini and Gaspare Vigarani from Reggio Emilia. Even if the entrance is in via San Carlo, its highlight is the extraordinary 150 metres long curved portico made up of 31 marble columns in via Emilia°° and Corso Canal Grande°°. There are many historical shops and big stores and this is certainly one of the favourite places where the Modenesi meet.
The interior is no less impressive and interesting. The hall has a painted ceiling and the grand staircase leads the visitor to the gallery, decorated with a trompe-l’oeil. The Cardinals’ Room is a wonderful example of the early XVIII century art, completely frescoed by Pellegrino Spaggiari and Giuseppe Dallamano, with a play of perspective and a depicting of allegories (whereas on the wall are picture of the famous cardinals, from whom the room takes its name). On the first floor, the little theatre has been restored many times, but still conserves the structure of a theatre projected in the XVIII century (the columns of the portico support it!). Charming is also the XIX century-chapel.
Nowadays the enormous edifice is occupied by a well stocked library and by the foundation with the same name. Here prestigious conferences are organized on philosophical and religious subjects.
[Images from 31 to 42 by Gabriele Melloni, from 3 to 30 by the Author with the kind permission of the Collegio]