Lodi is an Italian town of 45.872 inhabitants, capital of the homonymous province in Lombardy.
The city was founded on August 3rd, 1158 by Federico Barbarossa, following the destruction of the ancient village of Laus Pompeia, formerly the Roman municipium, bishop’s seat and free commune. During the Renaissance it experienced a period of great artistic and cultural splendor, after having hosted in 1454 the signature of the historic treaty between the Italian pre-unification states known as the Peace of Lodi.
Nowadays, Lodi is an important road junction and industrial center (in the sectors of information technology, cosmetics, crafts and dairy production). It is also the reference point of a territory mainly devoted to agriculture and breeding: by virtue of this, the city was chosen as the headquarters of the Padano Technology Park, one of the most qualified research centers at European level in the field of biotechnology food.
It certainly cannot be said that Lodi lacks charm: architecture, beautiful landscapes and gastronomy make this area rich in facets and with many destinations to be discovered. Let’s begin our tour!
The Natural Science Museum
The Natural Science Museum of the Collegio San Francesco di Lodi was born in 1850 as a museum of the Collegio di Santa Maria degli Angeli in Monza, directed by the Barnabites. The school closed at the beginning in 1884, much of the material passed to the Lodi boarding school. The collection expanded further thanks to the donation of Dr. Paolo Lanfossi who in 1862 inherited a collection of minerals, shells, birds and two hundred books of natural sciences. In 1996 the opening, previously reserved only for college students, was extended to all.
The museum consists of about six thousand units, arranged on three wings of a sixteenth-century cloister, for a total covered area of about three hundred square meters, where it is possible to admire the quartz and amethyst exhibited in the mineralogical and petrographic section, the shells from around the world in the malacological section, the birds and stuffed animals of the areas dedicated to ornithology and zoology, and finally the approximately eight hundred fossils that make up the paleontological collection.
But not only. At the Old Hospital of Lodi you will discover the “Paolo Gorini” anatomical collection, which collects the scholar’s anatomical findings, telling his story and that of medical-scientific research.
The Musuem has about 6 thousand finds divided into 5 categories: mineralogy and petrography, malacology, ornithology, zoology and paleontology plus an area of archaeological finds found in the Lodi area and a collection of 150 butterflies.
The Basilica of the Virgin Assumption, commonly known as the Cathedral, is the main Catholic place of worship in the city of Lodi, in Lombardy, the bishopric seat of the homonymous diocese. Started in 1160 and finished in the 14th century, the Cathedral of Lodi is one of the most important and majestic Romanesque architecture in all of Lombardy. It is also the oldest monument in Lodi: the first stone of the building, in fact, was symbolically placed on August 3, 1158, the day of the foundation of the city.
In March 1970 Pope Paul VI elevated it to the dignity of a minor basilica.
In Romanesque style, it is one of the largest churches in Lombardy. The first phase of its construction, for which many materials from the buildings of the ancient Laus Pompeia were probably used, dates back to the period between 1158 and 1163; the crypt was solemnly inaugurated with the translation of the relics of San Bassiano on November 4, 1163, in the presence of the emperor Federico Barbarossa. A second phase is to be placed between 1170 and 1180, but the facade was completed only in 1284. The church replaced the ancient church of Santa Maria di Lodi Vecchio as a cathedral.
The Cathedral of Lodi has been extensively restored between 1958 and 1965. The beautiful terracotta facade, rendered asymmetrical by the location of the fifteenth-century bell tower, has a 12th-century prothyrum supported by the stylophonic lions and the grandiose and characteristic portal carved with warning figures of Adam and Eve. Above the rose window is the aedicule housing the bronze statue of the patron saint of Lodi, Bassiano, whose original, in embossed gold copper, appears instead inside the church, on the third pillar on the left.
Chiesa di San Lorenzo
The church of San Lorenzo was probably the first church in Lodi to be completed: its construction, in fact, began in 1159 (a year later than that of the Duomo), but required less work than the Cathedral.
Among the oldest buildings in the city, the church of S. Lorenzo is located in the historic center along via Garibaldi and prospects with its typically Romanesque facade on the homonymous square. The main front is characterized by two semi-cylindrical pilasters and a large rose window framed in terracotta, above which is the aedicule with the statue of S. Lorenzo.
The facade, typically Romanesque, is characterized by two semi-cylindrical pilasters and a large rose window framed in terracotta, above which the aedicule with the statue of the saint is placed.
Inside, there are numerous works of art. In 1538 the young provost Matteo Camola called the most popular Lodi artists of the time (the Piazza brothers) and commissioned them to decorate the entire apse area, including the grandstand and the adjacent pillars. Dating back to this period is the fresco of the Resurrection.
In the right side aisle there is a fresco from the 1940s, depicting the Madonna and Child between Santa Caterina and Santa Lucia, by Francesco Carminati known as Soncino.
Palazzo Vistarini is a historic building in Lodi located on the corner of Piazza della Vittoria and Corso Vittorio Emanuele II.
Built in the fourteenth century, the building was the fortified residence of the influential Ghibelline family to whom it owes its name.
Over the centuries, it has undergone numerous renovations: before 1698, in particular, the palace was much larger than it is today, extending from Piazza della Vittoria to halfway through the current Corso Vittorio Emanuele II; in that year, part of the structure was transformed into the private home of Giovanni Paolo Barni (father of Antonio Barni), who became the owner of the building due to political and financial hardships of the Vistairini family.
The palace is in Gothic form, with a brick facade refined and embellished, with the presence of single-lancet windows decorated with terracotta frames, and pointed arches in the portico below. Of the ancient splendour, some frescoes remain on the vaults and in the portico, which preserves the height of the ceiling intact which, by decree of the city decurions, had to be of such a height as to allow the passage of a man on horseback. Several important personalities from a historical point of view stayed in the Palace, including Gaston de Foix, Margherita and Anna Maria of Austria.
Palazzo Vistarini is now used as a private home.
Palazzo Broletto is an architectural complex in Lodi, the seat of the municipal administration.
The neoclassical loggia of Palazzo Broletto overlooks Piazza della Vittoria, the main square of Lodi. On the top of the façade, there is an artistic representation of the municipal heraldic shield.
As often happens in Lombardy, the building symbol of temporal power overlooks a closed square and is located not too far from the building symbol of spiritual power, in this case the Cathedral. Palazzo Broletto and the Duomo, in fact, are two adjacent buildings, which overlook the same square, chosen as the center of city life.
The palace was built in 1284 probably on the basis of an earlier construction as attested by some historical sources.
The building has undergone many changes over the centuries. In 1303 the staircase was added and further modifications were made in 1337 and in 1656, the year in which the new loggia was rebuilt by the architect Agostino Pedrazzini. The facade, in its current forms, dates back to 1778 by the Engineer Castelli of Milan.
The Broletto today presents itself in neoclassical style with a porch on the ground floor and a loggia on the upper floor. It is currently the town hall and the municipal council of Lodi meets in its rooms. A beautiful loggia also overlooks the small square of Broletto, while an arch leads into Corso Umberto I. Two wings of the architectural complex are placed in communication through an elevated passageway, renamed “the Voltone” by the citizens of Lodi.
On a wall of the town hall is the bust of Federico Barbarossa founder of “Laus Nova”. The emperor is also depicted on the back of the municipal banner. In addition to the bust of Barbarossa, it is also possible to see one depicting Gneo Pompeo Strabone.
In the Broletto courtyard, there is the ancient baptismal font of the Cathedral donated by Bassiano da Ponte in 1508. Obtained from a single block of pink Verona marble, it has an octagonal external shape while the internal one is four-lobed.
The baptistery was granted on loan for use after the Second World War to the Municipality of Lodi who decided on its current location.
Piazza della Vittoria
Piazza della Vittoria, called until 1924 Piazza Maggiore,whose quadrangular planimetric layout has remained almost unchanged over the centuries, is the view of the most important city buildings.
It represents the heart of the city of Lodi: the cathedral Basilica of the Virgin Assupmption and Palazzo Broletto, as well as the Vistarini Palace, one of the most beautiful in the city, overlook it. Its planimetric layout has remained almost unchanged over the centuries: the square is characterized by a quadrangular plan with the sides of about 74 meters.
With 66 columns supporting the arcades, some of which come from the destroyed Laus Pompeia, it is a rare example of a porticoed square on all four sides. This singular peculiarity, combined with the elegance of the buildings that overlook it (very varied in color and size), makes it a particularly suggestive and scenographic place. Piazza della Vittoria, in fact, has often been chosen to host events of national interest and recordings of commercials for television.
The reduced width of the facades of the buildings on the square is due to the Gothic lot: in medieval times there was a tendency to optimize the space facing the square, to make the most of it. The square has always been at the center of city life: in the Middle Ages the capital executions, fairs and parties for the arrival of the bishops were held, and even in more modern times, the major personalities who visited Lodi have always passed from this square
Historical buildings overlook it and they contribute to increase its charm, and, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, the stalls of the traditional street market lurk on the pavement.
The Italian Touring Club also added it in 2004 to the list of the most beautiful squares in Italy.
Church of San Francesco
The church of San Francesco, dating back to the end of the thirteenth century, is the most original sacred building in the city of Lodi. Its main peculiarity is represented by the two “open-air” mullioned windows of the facade, which represent the first example of a model that spread between the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries throughout northern Italy.
The church was built between 1280 and the early 14th century where previously there was a small church of the Order of the Friars Minor dedicated to San Nicolò. On the initiative of the bishop of Lodi Bongiovanni Fissiraga, the religious undertook the construction of the current church supported by the donations of the noble Antonio Fissiraga.
In 1527, the management of the temple was entrusted to the Reformed Franciscans of San Bernardino, who in 1840 took over from the Barnabite Fathers, who had already occupied the adjacent convent in 1834, transforming it into a college; the first years of their activity were entirely dedicated to a profound restoration of the complex, which ended in 1842.
Although the Barnabites obtained the apostolic ministry of the church of San Francesco “for perpetual use”, the ownership of the building has always remained the prerogative of the parish of the Cathedral of Lodi, on which it still depends.
The building also preserves some important sixteenth and seventeenth century paintings, such as Sant’Antonio da Padova who meets Ezzelino da Romano by Giovan Battista Trotti known as Malosso (housed in the Fissiraga chapel), San Francesco who receives the stigmata of the Lodigiano between Sollecito Arisi and Madonna by Caravaggio by Enea Salmeggia.
The church is counted among the Italian national monuments.
Civic Museum of Lodi
The Civic Museum of Lodi was inaugurated in 1869 with the aim of collecting and preserving the archaeological finds from the territory of Lodi Vecchio and the paintings of the Lodi school.
Housed since 1876 in the former convent adjacent to the church of San Filippo, it preserves numerous works by the Lodi Callisto Piazza, but also two important paintings by Francesco Hayez . There is also an archaeological section which houses numerous finds from Laus Pompeia, a Risorgimento section and the important section of ceramics, a classic element of local craftsmanship.
In the archaeological section of the Museum, we can find materials from the area, found since the nineteenth century. In the first room there are some epigraphs that constituted the first nucleus of the collection. There are also finds from the Bronze Age, two Celtic burial kits, and Roman bronze pottery. In the second room there are the epigraphs of the temple of Hercules on the banks of the Adda and other Christian epigraphs, Roman and Lombard funeral furnishings and other finds from Magna Graecia and Etruria.
The Pinacoteca is located on the first floor of the building. To access it, you pass by an imposing staircase, in the middle of which is the marble bust of Ludovico Vistarini, the work of Leone Leoni. Particularly valuable are the wrought iron ornaments dating back to the 18th century.