I nuovi spazi della vita e della ritualità di corte a Varese. I soggiorni di Francesco III d’Este duca di Modena (1765-1780)
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The feoffment of Varese to Francesco III of Este, duke of Modena (Modena, 1698 - Varese, 1780), in 1765, by the Hapsburg government, was caused by the political and diplomatic instances connected with Empress Mary Theresa of Austria’s aims of imperial hegemony on the Italian peninsula. The feoffment had profound consequences on the redevelopment of the urban plan of the city and on the creation of new barycentres. Although the duke’s permanence lasted only about fifteen years and the presence of a princely residence and of a court (unique in the history of the town), with needs linked to the celebration of the dynastic protocol, was essentially seasonal, they caused long lasting transformations. They were mainly buildings, having a consequent impact on the landscape of a traditionally commercial town, which, during the XVIIIth century, was becoming a privileged place of vacation of a significant part of the patriciate of Milan. The structure of Varese, which was previously characterized by some reference areas connected with the presence of churches, such as St. Vittore’s collegiate church and the Sacred Mount, was completely modified by a new dialectic : the relation between the Este Palace, built in a peripheral area, and the seasonal residences of aristocracy, which was linked to Francesco III, duke of Modena, who loved the hilly areas around the town, called ‘castellanze’.
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