During autumn, the Province of Lecco offers interesting initiatives dedicated to Alessandro Manzoni at Villa Monastero. The events also remind us that Villa Monastero was the residence of Carolina Maumari, the niece of the first wife of Alessandro Manzoni, from 1869 to 1894.
Villa Monastero preserves indeed a series of paintings illustrating episodes of The Betrothed that alternates with those of the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet in the Mornico living room on the ground floor.
Friday 27 October, from 9.30 to 13.00 – The conference Manzoni sul lago (Manzoni on the lake) with the participation of important experts and specialists who will discuss these issues: Illustrare I promessi sposi. Iconografia di un romanzo (Gian Luigi Daccò, Simul e Museo manzoniano emeritus director), Orlando Sora e l’illustrazione de I promessi sposi (Anna Ranzi, curator of the House Museum – Villa Monastero of Varenna), Figure femminili intorno ad Alessandro Manzoni (Jone Riva, Casa del Manzoni, Milano), Manzoni e il lago (Pietro Dettamanti, Associazione Bovara Lecco president).
From 15 October to 5 November – There is an exhibition curated by the House Museum curator and dedicated to The Betrothed due to the presence of some volumes of the novel in the House Museum.
There is the first illustrated version of the novel (1840) edited by Manzoni himself involving a special equipe: Francesco Gonin (1808-1889), with the collaboration of Massimo d’Azeglio, and the participation of Luigi Riccardi and Luigi Bisi, Federico Mojia, Paolo Riccardi and Giuseppe Sogni. This version is known as Quarantana and follows the first edition of 1827. There is also the volume The Betrothed illustrated by the painter Gaetano Previati (1852-1920) for the publisher Ulrico Hoepli of 1900, and that one with the illustrations of Giacomo Mantegazza (1853-1920) published by Cattaneo Editore in 2009. The three volumes provide three great nineteenth-century interpretations of the Manzoni masterpiece.
In the House Museum, the interesting edition of The Betrothed illustrated by the painter Orlando Sora will be shown for the first time. It was published by Ettore Bartolozzi in Lecco.
It will be also possible to admire a small and interesting artwork of the artist that shows a view of the convent of Pescarenico.
There will be also two special versions of The Betrothed: a rare Ventisettana edited in Lugano, and one more recently of 1916 with the cover of the book decorated in relief with the portrait of the writer and the characters. The De Marchi family, the last owner of Villa Monastero before it became a museum, was the owner of these two versions of the novel.
In addition, there are two books from the De Marchi Family of 1875 and 1935 by Marco Visconti di Tommaso Grossi, a big friend of Alessandro Manzoni.
The initiative was born with the cooperation of the Ufficio scolastico territoriale di Lecco and the Ministry of Education. Students could participate in another special initiative: on 16, 18, 20, 26 and 31 October they can visit the exhibition and the House Museum for free (compulsory reservations firstname.lastname@example.org). Particular attention was carried out with the Liceo Manzoni of Lecco with an iconography of the three XIXth century editions of The Betrothed.
It is possible to visit the exhibition during the opening hours of the House Museum: from Tuesday to Sunday, last access at 17.15.