The painted house in Trento: Old renaissance palaces decorated with almost 500 year old frescos that – though waned and tattered – tell a story.
I don’t think I have ever recommended plaster as a tourist attraction before, but with Trento I will make an exception. Several of the palaces in the old renaissance part of town are decorated with almost 500 year old frescos that – though waned and tattered – tell a story.
Some of the houses are painted with geometric or floral patterns in red, green and yellow, but there are also frescos with allegoric motifs, like the ones on Case Rella opposite the Duomo. Here you can get lost in pictures of Lady Justice weighing one bouncing child against the other. A man and woman in Alpine outfits with a chubby, naked and independent child, Conscience depicted as a rather suspect knife thrower; and Lady Luck holding her horn of plenty, and many others. It is like a silent movie from the time, when the Roman Catholic Church was busy redefining itself in relation to the upcoming Protestants.
From 1545-1563 a commission of cardinals gathered in Trento to address controversial issues such as corrupt bishops and priests, indulgences and financial abuses. This Council of Trent led to an institutional reform rejecting all compromise with the Protestants, and restating the basic tenets of the Roman Catholic faith.
During this period Trento flourished as a liberal humanistic state and wealthy families built renaissance palaces with an alpine twist and had the facades decorated by artists such as Marcello Fogolino, who ended up in Trento after having been banished from Venice for complicity in murder. In Trento he continued working on realistic representations of physiology and perspective in edifying allegories, and, in consequence, the exterior of many renaissance palaces in Trento still glow with untroubled innocence and men climbing up the ladder of virtue.
Source: Trento città del Concilio by Aldo Gorfer, 1995, and Wikipedia
Other things to see near the painted house in Trento