Enclosure and Theatre of Pompeo

According to the customs in the most noble residences in the Lombardy countryside and of the Italian noble villas, also Villa Arconati had an enclosure where exotic and hunting animals were kept. The building, of which just a few remains stand today, thus allowed the Arconati family to own and show off to illustrious visitors and guests, a set of autochthonous and exotic animals, and be able to relax by narrating stories and true-life anecdotes or fantastic imaginary tales. In the actual state of investigations, there are not many historical news regarding the Enclosure and there are no specific studies on this important recreational and architectonic-natural aspects within the park. Despite these historiographic gaps we can be sure that in the 17th and 18h century, the Enclosure contained deer, stags, and many other game animals.

This building today no longer exists, and used to be at the boundary of the park at the end of a long avenue that started off close to the grotto of Neptune, and continued up to the limits of the estate, where a thick wood appeared. Not far away, was the Theatre of Pompeo, which also no longer exists today, the name of which derived from the presence up to 1742 of the immense statue of Pompeo the Great, which Galeazzo Arconati had bought in Rome. After a long, adventurous journey, the statue was set in this part of the park where it remained until the time when Giuseppe Antonio Arconati put it inside the villa to preserve it from ruin. A copy was put in its place, and, like the original statue set inside a small temple supported by four ionic columns, surmounted by a dome decorated with lively colours.
Around the temple, high and well kept hedges increased its perspective value and the aspect of a natural scenic theatre, since the Theatre of Pompeo was the apex of an internal itinerary of the villa and its park, finalized in exhibiting the grand collection of ancient, classical statues.
All was taken down by Count Giuseppe Antonio, today the original Temple no longer exists, and is kept alive in the memories of many and testified to by historical records. These attest also to the importance this architecture held for the Arconati, and in general, the architectonic and natural theatres that fully complied with the tastes of the Lombard villas, where there were spaces specifically dedicated to the scenic representation of the culture of the owners, who entertained their guests, also by showing the most precious pieces of their collections and the interesting artifacts jealously kept in the Wunderkammer, that can be defined as marvelous chambers or room of interesting items. Around the Theatre of Pompeo, furthermore, also ballrooms, feasts and various types of recreational events were held, exploiting the fresh and restful garden and allowing for get-togethers as pastimes typical of life in the villa.