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Casa Minerbi - Dal Sale

A jewel of Ferrara’s historical heritage, the recently restored Casa Minerbi – Dal Sale is an architectural complex which stands because of the fascinating dialogue between ancient and modern, immediately perceptible in the internal areas where fourteenth century pictorial cycles can be admired connected to contemporary spatiality created between 1957 and 1963 by architect Piero Bottoni from Milan.
Casa Minerbi - Dal Sale
The complex consists of a group of industrial bodies, connected to each other during the course of the centuries, which during the 14th century was owned by the illustrious family Del Sale (or Dal Sale). The block on which the building stands, although of early medieval origins, took shape during the course of the XIV century, thanks also to the construction, by will of Alberto V of Este, of the nearby Palazzo Paradiso (1391), the old location of the University, whose main entrance once opened onto Via Giuoco del Pallone (Ball game street). Along this very old road, which also allows access to Casa Minerbi, the students used to play ball games, hence the name.


The building owes its fame mainly to the frescoes which ennoble the two most prestigious areas of the entire complex and which are located in the most internal building (Casa Minerbi – Dal Sale); it is the Vices and Virtues Room and the Coat of Arms Room, both attributed to the so-called “Maestro of Casa Minerbi” and which can be dated to between 1360 and 1370. In particular, the frescoes with the complex symbolism of vices and virtues have been defined, together with those in the Benedictine monastery of Sant’Antonio in Polesine, as the most important part of 14th century painting in Ferrara.


The current name of this charming house originated after 1870, when the Minerbi family bought several proprieties with an entrance on Via Giuoco del Pallone. Between 1953 and 1961, Giuseppe Minerbi, a scholarly and enthusiastic art expert, dealt with the restoration of his house and of the room with the frescoes. The overall intervention project was entrusted to Piero Bottoni, a notable architect from Milan, while the restoration of the famous frescoes was carried out in 1955 by Arturo Raffaldini and Ottorino Nonfarmale, just in time to avoid that the marks of decay should cancel for ever such a beautiful masterpiece.


It is the headquarters of the Institute of Renaissance studies and of the Centre for Bassaniani Studies, founded by the municipality of Ferrara following the donations by professor Portia Anne Prebys which narrate– thanks to more than five thousand books, documents, art objects and furniture –a substantial part of the life and work of the Ferrara writer Giorgio Bassani.

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last modified Feb 20, 2024 10:40
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