Ducal Palace of Sassuolo
The exterior facade seems to reference Tuscan villas more than those of the Veneto. In the mid-16th century, the first pleasure summer villa was built on the site. In the early 17th century, the Duke Francesco I d'Este initially commissioned the building of the present structure by the architect Bartolomeo Avanzini. Over the centuries, the palace has had many owners, but is now owned by the town.
The palace is best known for it highly decorated interior frescoes (1638-1656) by the French artist Jean Boulanger, as well as by Angelo Michele Colonna, Agostino Mitelli, Baldassare Bianchi and Giovanni Giacomo Monti. who were invited by Boulanger to work also on the palace decoration. Luca Colombi, Giovanni Lazzoni, Lattanzio Maschio, Guercino, Salvator Rosa, Ludovico Lana also contributed to the palaces artwork. The palace is also known for its gardens and fanciful Peschiera or fish-tank. The latter was designed by Cavalli, and was originally a large rectangular big "pool" surrounded by a boundary wall in the form of a ruined amphitheater, and is called familiarly the "Fontanazzo" (Rough Fountain).
Restoration of the piano nobile has allowed its use for art exhibitions.
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