Comune di Spilimbergo
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The Town of Mosaic

The "Town of Mosaic": Art and Culture Itineraries


Home to the famous Mosaic School, Spilimbergo is notably known as “the Town of Mosaic”. Founded officially in 1922, the school has inherited the great mosaic tradition of Rome, Byzantium, Venice and Aquileia. Nowadays Spilimbergo is the capital of ornamental mosaic, for floors and walls decorations, as witnessed by the remarkable and precious works of art made by the school and by the town ateliers. These works have enriched airports, universities, royal palaces, public and private buildings, gym halls, stadiums, cathedrals, mosques and monasteries all over the world. The students of the school, under the direction of highly experienced and qualified teachers, produce all kind of works, reproducing the sketches of some of the most famous contemporary artists. 

OLD TOWN

Spilimbergo, a village of ancient origin, gained great splendour during the Medieval and Renaissance Periods. The emperor Charles V and the French King Henry III stopped over in the town.

An old legend has it that the Lords of Spilimbergo hid their wealth in an underground tunnel of the Castle.
No one could find it….But we can find another treasure in this place and it is not a hidden one: thanks to the artists’ works of art Spilimbergo is today one of the most beautiful towns in Friuli.

The Cathedral square was the centre of the administrative and economic activities. The merchants who sold their goods in the square got into the town from the nearby towns crossing the ford of the River Tagliamento (the Ancona’s Church, which was once the destination of pilgrimages, is well worth a visit).

The negotiations took place in this beautiful square, controls on goods were carried out and taxes were paid. The 13th century Palazzo del Daziario (Duty Palace) which once housed the magistrates and the 14th  century Loggia where goods were stored and controls were made, give evidence of this. The ancient length measure named “macia” used to check the reliability of trades is still engraved in one of the pillars of the Loggia.

As a consequence of the commercial development the small village grew out to excess in the 14th century so that three new circles of walls were erected.


The Torre Orientale (Eastern Tower - 1304) was part of the first circle of walls. Another palace worth seeing is the Casa Dipinta (Painted House) painted in frescos in the 16th century with scenes of Hercules’ life. Getting through the Tower, you will reach the “Borgo di Mezzo” (Middle Village) and the “Borgo Nuovo” (New Village) which are divided into two parts by Corso Roma (Roma Street), the load-bearing axis of the old town. Between 1500 and 1700 the enriched families built their palaces along this street: you might like to see the Palazzo Monaco (16th century).

At the edge of the main “borghi” (villages) were the lower class villages of Valbruna and Broiluccio (now Borgolucido Square). The latter, with its typical buildings, was once an open space reserved to the open-air meetings of the lower class Assembly.

Of historical and artistic interest is San Giuseppe e Pantaleone’s Church (known as the Frari’s Church – 16th century). A precious wooden-made Choir stalls engraved  in 1475 by the wood carver Marco Cozzi from Vicenza is retained in the Church. It is also worth visiting San Giovanni’s Church which once housed the Battuti’s Confraternity.

THE CASTLE

The history of the Castle is strictly related to the Lords of Spilimbergo who were the most remarkable in the area and were officials (“ministeriales”) of the Aquileian Patriarchate. Damaged by an earthquake, the Castle was later set to fire in 1511 during upheavals where only the frescos of Palazzo Dipinto (Painted Palace) could be recovered.
Today the Castle looks like a set of  residential dwellings half surrounded by a deep moat and half raising sheer from the River Tagliamento.

As you enter through the tower, after crossing the bridge over the moat,      you can reach the courtyard.  On the left hand side you can see Palazzo Tadea (1566) and close to it Palazzo Ciriani where some frescos of the  16th century can still be observed inside. Next to is Palazzo Troilo ( 16th century) and on its right Palazzo Dipinto (Painted Palace). Its façade features frescos representing horses and grooms, theological and cardinal Virtues attributed to Andrea Bellunello (15th century). The western side has a set of buildings dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries.

THE CATHEDRAL

The building, begun in 1284, was built close to the ancient walls and one of the towers became the bell tower. On the northern side is the entrance door sculptured by Zenone da Campione. Known as Moorish Door, it was the entrance for the Lords. The main façade, on the western side, has seven characteristic rosettes: it is the only one in Friuli. Inside, the Cathedral has one nave and two aisle separated by frescoed pillars introducing ogival arches.
In the aisle on the left are the altar of Saint Andrews with a painting by Giuseppe Heintz the Young dating back to 1665 and representing the martyrdom of the saint, the altar of Saint John the Baptist and the Crucified one. In the aisle on the right are the altar of Saint Francis with a painting by Palma the Young  dating back to the 17th century, the chapel of the Carmine with sculptures by Pilacorte and the chapel of the Rosary with paintings by Gasparo Narvesa ( late 16th century – early 17th century). In the nave is the organ whose swell box is decorated with Giovanni Pilacorte’s boards and paintings( 1525).

The real jewels of the Cathedral are the frescos of the apses which date back to the 14th century. The central apse is completely painted with scenes of the Old and the New Testament on the walls and the Doctors of the Church and the Evangelists on the vault.
In the apse on the right is the Baptismal Font  by Pilacorte (1492) and the entrance to the impressive crypt.

PALAZZO DI SOPRA AND BORGO VALBRUNA

Recently restored, the Counts of Spilimbergo owned the palace up to 1920. In  the 16th century it was the home of the Parteniana Accademy, a humanistic school founded by Bernardino Partenio and supported by the Count Adriano. The present outlook of the building is due to the renewals carried out in the 16th and 17th centuries. Part of the original decoration of the façade, both with a trompe-l’oeil and with mythological, historical and floral themes, is still maintained. At  present  home of the Town Hall, it is well placed in Valbruna, the typical “borgo” (village) of the early Middle Age with its unique lower class houses, lanes and inner courtyards.

MAIN EVENTS IN SPILIMBERGO


THE CARNIVAL
A parade in disguise dresses, open-air exhibitions with music (the second last Sunday of Carnival )

EUROPEAN SAVOURS
Gastronomic, folk, art and music exhibition,  guided city sightseeing, with the participation of different European communities ( in May)

SPILIMBERGO PHOTOGRAPHY
Photo shows by CRAF, Centre of Research and Photo Filing (since July)

FOLKEST
International Folk Festival dedicated to ethnic music and new trends. The last days in Spilimbergo with concerts, animations, vinyl and musical instruments market ( end of July)

“LA MACIA” HISTORICAL RE-CREATION
A 16th century historical re-creation in period costume, palio of Our Lady the Assumption, medieval dinner, old taverns, renaissance atmosphere ( from 13th to 16th August)

MOSAIC & MOSAICS
Works exhibition of the Mosaic School students

SAN ROCCO FAIR
Craftsmanship and hobby market ( 15th and 16th August)

ENJOY THE SAVOUR OF ANCIENT TASTES
Exhibition market of typical products (beginning of October)

CHRISTMAS
Animations in town, market, shops opened everyday (in December)

INFORMATION CENTRE


Pro Spilimbergo
Palazzo La Loggia, in Piazza Duomo, 1
33097 Spilimbergo (PN)

Telephone/Fax: + 39 0427 2274

Website: www.prospilimbergo.org 
mail: iat(at)comune.spilimbergo.pn.it  

MOSAIC SCHOOL OF FRIULI


Via Corridoni, 6
33097 Spilimbergo (PN)
Telephone: +39 0427 2077
Fax: + 39 0427 3903
Website: www.scuolamosaicistifriuli.it 
mail: info(at)scuolamosaicistifriuli.it