Palazzo Soranzo Novello (TV)

by Lavinia colonna Preti
Palazzo Soranzo Novello (TV) — Veneto Secrets

Palazzo Soranzo Novello, one of the symbols of Castelfranco Veneto, reopens to the public with an exhibition inspired by the Wunderkammer, in which over 500 "fantastic" objects are flanked by installations dedicated to Urbex art and to the original history of the building.

Palazzo Soranzo Novello is one of the most important buildings in Castelfranco Veneto, not only for its documented history which begins at the end of the 15th century, almost at the height of the splendor of Venice and the fame of the painter Giorgione, but also for the more “unofficial” one which tells of art thefts and the financial epic of the legendary North East of the 90s.

Already built during the 1300s by the powerful Soranzo family, who wanted it right in front of the Civic Tower with the winged lion, then the symbol of Venice which dominated the city, during the 18th century it passed into the hands of the Novello family. In this period, it was completely renovated thanks to the intervention of the famous Francesco Maria Preti, mathematician, architect and scientist, to whom we also owe the project of the Cathedral and the Academic Theater of Castelfranco Veneto.

Palazzo Soranzo Novello (TV) — Veneto Secrets
Palazzo Soranzo Novello (TV) — Veneto Secrets

..This place, waiting to become what it will be, is meanwhile this suspension full of footprints, a slow evaporation of traces in the stirred labirinth of rooms…

(Matteo Melchiorre, Director Museo Casa Giorgione for Tenuto immerso, video installation)

In 1976 the building was purchased by Banca Popolare di Castelfranco Veneto, which later became Banca Popolare di Vicenza, which made it its HQ until 2017 when, following its bankruptcy, the building was abandoned in a hurry, leaving it, if not for the removal of its artworks, as if the office activities were still going on.

Purchased by the Municipality of Castelfranco Veneto in 2021 with the high intention of “returning” it to the city, with a coup de génie, Palazzo Soranzo Novello was reopened to the public in June 2023, in part, just as it had been found, giving life to a suggestive Urbex installation, understood as an acronym for “urban exploration” of abandoned places documented by lovers of beauty with the aim of telling their story.

Palazzo Soranzo Novello (TV) — Veneto Secrets

Thus, the bank branches, the vault, and the photocopiers coexist with the stuccos and Renaissance dècor, giving life to a highly expressive stratification of time and space that tells the story of the building as “the smell of time that falls apart”.

A sentence contained in the narration of the powerful video installation set up in the reception room of the former bank which represents its emotional heart: it is Tenuto immerso, created by the artist Daniele Costa with the curation of Stefano Volpato and the text by Matteo Melchiorre narrated by Elsa, an Artificial Intelligence specialized in reading. All around, the suggestions of a time that no longer exists, yet is present: the LED clock still stopped in the 90s, the work desks, the safes that seem to have just been opened.

Palazzo Soranzo Novello (TV) — Veneto Secrets

On the right, the large print of a fresco and a neon that delimits the area where the original one once was hung tells us another “story”. This is the “Conversation of Mary with Saints Antonio Abate and Jerome”, dating back to 1496, which adorned the entrance to the bank and of which traces were lost in 2020 when it was taken to be auctioned as part of the procedures of liquidation of Banca Popolare di Vicenza.

Thanks to a joint action between the Municipality of Castelfranco, the Superintendence of Archeology, Fine Arts and Landscape and the Italian Police Command for the Protection of Cultural Heritage, the fresco was found and it is about to return to “his” palace next Autumn.

Palazzo Soranzo Novello (TV) — Veneto Secrets

The installations are part of “Temporanea. Exhibit, document, recover”, an exhibition experience that the curator Matteo Melchiorre, Director of the Casa Giorgione Museum, of the Library and of the Historical Archive of the city, and the architect Giuliana Zanella have set up on the ground floor of the Palazzo. Open to visits until 1 October 2023, the itinerary collects over 500 objects from the city’s museum deposits, from the ancient ages to today, presented with the aim of astounding and intriguing visitors.

From the wonderful collection of majolica from central Italy from the 16th century, donated to the Municipality by the Varo family, which opens the visit to the Palace, up to rare objects that take us back to the era of the Serenissima, from a Byzantine sword from 1499 to a piece of sail dating back to the Battle of Lepanto in 1571, there are many suggestions that will make you want to know more about the wonderful Castelfranco Veneto.

And if you want some tips for spending a weekend there, here’s a Secrets itinerary for you!

The Secret

Palazzo Soranzo Novello was also the home of the legendary Count Innocente “Dodo” Baggio, who went down in history in Castelfranco for his extravagant look, parties and participation in the Mille Miglia race and other sporting competitions together with the diplomat and viveur Porfirio Rubirosa and its Ferrari.

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