“Some of the most beautiful city works are housed in the palace that belonged to one of the most influential families in the history of the town.”
The current appearance of the Palace comes from the reconstruction that took place mainly in the second half of the Seventeenth century, involving several ancient medieval houses and transforming them into a unique complex. Anyway, the general rebuilding phases can be summarized in three main moments.
- The first construction site lasted until the first half of the Eighteenth century and included the creation of the wing overlooking the courtyard, the rebuilding of the facade and the embellishment of the rooms inside, in particular the Room of the Alcove and the Hall of the Zodiac. This phase finished in 1730, with the decoration of the Gallery.
- The second one dates back to 1751 and 1752, when the restoration of the east wing took place under the supervision of the architect Benedetto Alfieri. This phase concerned the institutional spaces: the Staircase, the Hall of Honor and the other deputation rooms, where famous plasterers from Lugano worked.
- The third one is connected to the purchase of the Palace by Cassa di Risparmio di Asti in 1937. In the twentieth-century construction site some city artists were involved for the restoration and redecoration of the building, among them Giuseppe Manzone and Ottavio Baussano.
The Museum and the Collections.
The civic collections of Asti originated in 1887 with the institution of a room dedicated to the exposition of archaeological findings only.
The first nucleus of the picture gallery included works coming from suppressed convents and paintings sent as gifts by aspiring artists from Asti. In a second time paintings and drawings donated by Michelangelo Pittatore (1902) were added to the first collection. In 1910 and 1911 a Risorgimento section was set up; it already counted many canvases commissioned in 1899 by Leonetto Ottolenghi, to whose patronage we also owe the entrance to the museum of the great painting by Lorenzo Delleani entitled “Pellegrinaggio ad Oropa” (or Spes Nostra Salve).
In 1920 the Museum was enriched by the collection of “oriental wonders” thanks to the donation of the Rear Admiral of the Royal Navy Enrico Secondo Guglielminetti (1844-1918). The Thirties also saw important acquisitions, including the collection of miscrosculptures by Giuseppe Maria Bonzanigo (Asti, 1745 – Turin 1820).
The last interventions concerned the arrangement of the Museum of Risorgimento on the ground floor and the location of collections on the main floor. This work was completed in 1955 with the renovation of rooms previously occupied by Cassa di Risparmio di Asti in order to house paintings of contemporary art.
Palazzo Mazzetti is a baroque palace in Asti that takes its name from one of the richest and most influential families in the city. This building, enlarged by the Marquis Giulio Cesare II Mazzetti in the Sixteenth century, was the symbol of their affirmation in the social context of Asti.
Over the centuries it hosted several important personalities such as James Stuart III (1717), the King of Sardinia Carlo Emanuele III (1727) and Napoleon I (1805). Today the floors of the palace preserve not only a great architectural value, symbol of innovation, taste and prestige, but also the seat of the Civic Art Gallery, with paintings and sculptures dated to the Nineteenth and the Twentieth centuries, precious oriental artifacts and ancient textiles from Gerbo’s collection.