Rocca di Angera’s new exhibition area

Ala Scaligera is the Rocca di Angera’s new exhibition area dedicated to contemporary creativity, inaugurated this year though not yet opened to the public.

Nestled between the surrounding walls and the remains of the oldest tower, the building stands on the northern side of the castle and dates back to before the mid 13th century.

It was made with small quarried stones from Angera, a kind of limestone that’s resistant yet easy to work with and has a pleasant rosy-yellowish tint. This stone was popular in large part because it was easy to transport throughout the Milan area from the quarry by way of the Ticino river and the network of Lombard canals.

Ala Scaligera’s name came from the heraldic motifs, rhombuses and coats of arms frescoed on the broad walls inside, the only remaining testimony to the substantial works ordered by Bernabò Visconti, who died in 1385. The name Ala Scaligera derives from the presence of the heraldic motifs of Bernabò’s consort, Beatrice Regina della Scala.

The decoration is repeated in the same manner in all the rooms. Above a lower painted strip of faux wainscoting of around 60 cm we find a broader area of black and white rhombuses that terminate in the upper section with framed depictions alternating between floral motifs, the Visconti family’s biscione and a ladder, which is the symbol of the Scala family. The decoration ends at the upper edge with trompe-l’oeil trusses that likely matched the ancient wooden ceiling beams.
Between 2015 and 2017 the entire wing underwent significant restructuring and conservative restoration, including the reconstruction of the foundation dividing the ground floor, which is currently less elevated than it was originally, and the floor above it; the creation of an internal connection between the floors; and the restoration of the original frescoes and plasterwork.