Modena Court Expands in Guarini Building

ModenaCourt_croppedModenaonline reports that the Modena courthouse will be expanding into the third floor of the former Theatine casa of San Vincenzo (Corso Canalgrande 77). Construction is already underway for the alterations that will allow several regional courts to be united under one roof.

Guarino Guarini’s building, begun in 1675, has suffered numerous alterations over the centuries as it was adapted to accommodate institutional functions ranging from military barracks to a school of music. These changes included inserting an entrance portal in the main façade where none had been envisaged: Guarini’s original entrance had been at the rear of the church skirting the sacristy, since the semi-cloistered Theatines had no need for access to their house directly from the street.

The most grievous intervention, however, came just over fifty years ago, when the spectacular interior was gutted to turn the building into the present courthouse. This destruction of a significant Baroque monument happened just at the moment when major critical reassessment of Guarini’s architecture was getting underway in the 1960s and the building was not yet widely recognized as a Guarini design.

One can only hope that the current renovations will do no further damage to any remaining portions of the historic structure.

Guarino Guarini, courtyard of Theatine casa, San Vincenzo, Modena (begun 1675)
Photograph: Susan Klaiber Creative Commons License

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Further reading:

Susan Klaiber, “I progetti per la casa dei Teatini di Modena,” in G. Dardanello, S. Klaiber, H. A. Millon, eds., Guarino Guarini (Turin: Allemandi, 2006): 276-283, with complete additional bibliography.

See also Guarini Sites Outside Turin, with a Google Map of the San Vincenzo casa and links to two Guarini drawings for it.