Zappaglia Palace

Facade from the courtyard.

Palazzo Zappaglia (Zappaglia Palace), today parish rectory, can be found in what is currently via G. Garibaldi (Garibaldi street), between the Town Hall and the nineteenth-century silk spinning mill. 

There are traces dating back to XIV century of the presence in Medole of the Zappaglia family; they lived there and managed their large estates all over Medole, Ceresara (with the Gonzaga estate of San Lazzaro), San Martino Gusnago and Castiglione delle Stiviere. 

On June 28, 1543, a meeting took place in the castle in Medole between Ferrante Gonzaga, Cardinal Ercole Gonzaga and Margherita Paleologa whose son Francesco (Frances) was then legitimized his double investiture as Duke of Mantua and Marquis of Monferrato. They also reached an agreement concerning his future marriage to Caterina (Catherine), the granddaughter of the Emperor and daughter of Ferdinand, king of the Romans.  

Fireplace with Zappaglia family crest

It is on this occasion that the Emperor stayed in this dwelling and, to express his gratitude, he appointed Francesco Zappaglia Knight of the Holy Roman Empire.  

In July 1580 the same room was used to accommodate saint-to-be Carlo Borromeo on his pastoral visit as Bishop of Milan (and most probably in 1582 too, in the course of a later visit). 

Subsequently, in 1686, Duke Ferdinando Carlo (Ferdinand Charles) Gonzaga granted the Zappaglia family the title of Count, which was passed on to the male firstborn. 

On 1 st December 1724 notary Giuseppe Guidi stipulated the exchange of some assets belonging to the parish with the building that was next used as rectory. 

As far as the building is concerned, its origin dates back to the fifteenth century, when, according to the writer, it was built all over again. 

Today its plain structure is due to major alterations, the most clearly visible of which is the closure of the loggia on the ground floor. 

The facade has a small forepart with traces of pilasters at the corners and in the main part the division emphasized by the four arches of the loggia is also noticeable. The interior of the palace, with the exclusion of the recent alterations, shows a clean-cut plan, a clear characteristic of a structure built from scratch and not the result of the work done earlier, as was often the case. 

The loggia was originally supposed to be an open space fully decorated with a vine trellis, ivy and other greenery. 

On the upper floor the staircase leads to the space above the portico which, in turn, gives access to a large hall (originally an open space, in all likelihood) decorated with a zoomorphic frieze all around the room. A small room or study was created at the end of the hall, towards the entrance road: it boasts ornaments -still in excellent condition – imitating a columned pavilion rich in floral festoons. 

As on the lower floor, upstairs the space is also divided into three rectangular rooms, each of which clearly shows what remains of the wall decorations and the wooden coffered ceilings. 

The last room where the parish archive is kept today must have been the most important, probably the main bedroom: in it visitors can admire the superb stucco fireplace with floral trabeation and the Zappaglia family coat of arms on its mantelpiece. The wooden coffered ceiling decorated with stucco rosettes is perfectly preserved in this room. 

Detail of the study on the first floor