Hall of Columns

The enormous Hall of Columns is an example of the ideal achievement of the halls on the ground floor since it originally concluded the long sequence of portraits of the family and advocates of the Spanish royalty, today partly kept at the Borromeo Villa in Isola Madre. The place was thus conceived as a “public” venue, unlike the major part of the halls of the first floor which were assigned as private apartments.


Despite their imperfect state of preservation, the walls today still show the original fresco decorations that surrounded the painted furniture, depicting a faux architectonic framework. Today, it is composed of a sequence of twisting and channeled ionic columns lying on a continuous base with bays surmounted by a tall frieze painted with family coats of arms, prevalently of the Arese family. This decorative layout fittingly accompanied the doors and windows in the rooms, and the Majestic marble fireplace of the west wall, the scenic presence of which is extensively underlined by the frescoes in faux marble embellishing its peak.
The iconographic fulcrum of the frescoes is the image of the spiral columns that recall the Temple of Jerusalem, associating them in the function of the entire Villa as the seat of “wisdom.” The load bearing columns of the narration become also the personages of the past portrayed in the painted furniture, such as the supporters of the noble house, and at the same time of the Spanish crown. The use of a prevalently architectonic language, and likewise the preference for decorative styles typical of the Roman school, made critiques attribute the decorations of this hall to Giovanni Ghisolfi (1623-1683), artistically trained in the city of the popes.