Museo del "Trasparente" - Casa Croci

Ground floor

“Trasparenti” on Procession days: archive materials, instruments and lanterns carried in procession. 

First floor

“Trasparenti”: “vele”, “lesene” and “porte” by Bagutti, “tempietti” and “balconcini”.

Second floor

“Trasparenti”: restoration technique and maintenance.

Casa Croci

Casa Croci is also known as the Carlasch (“Castellaccio”), after the name of the site. The architect Antonio Croci (1823-1884) built it for himself in 1858 and it was long overlooked as part of his work. In was only in arou d 1970, when it had deteriorated to such an extent that it was faced with the threat of demolition, that the research, studies and interventions carried out by Giuseppe Martinola and Fabio Reinhart (assisted by Graziella Zannone Milan) led the munici-pality of Mendrisio to purchase it, making it part of the canton heritage and using it as an exhibition venue. The exemplary restoration work has preserved every detail, from the extraordinary roof that supports the top floor to the nevèra, the window fastenings and the original colours of every surface. The architect Antonio Croci was born in Mendrisio on 7 April 1823 and studied architecture at the Acccademia delle Belle Arti in Milan, where he won first prize in an “Architectural Invention” competition. He also worked at the court of Constantinople, in France and in the Canton of Valais, as well as collaborating with the sculptor Vincenzo Vela (1820-1891).  During his stay in Latin America (1871-1872), the Bernasconi family from Mendrisio commissioned him to build the “Villa Argentina” in the town, which now houses the administrative headquarters of the Accademia di Architettura. Croci died of tuberculosis on 2 December 1884 in his home that he described as “parva sed apta mihi” (small, but suited to me).

The museum

The “Museo del Trasparente” provides an opportunity to observe these wonderful objects closeup, to learn about how they are made and to find out more about the various different types of this unusual decorative item. “Trasparenti” are illuminated nocturnal paintings used to embellish the ancient town along the route of the Maundy Thursday and Good Friday proces-sions, a much-loved folk tradition among the local people that has changed very little over the years.26 of these objects, including lanterns, “strumenti della Passione”, “vele”, “lesene”, “balconcini”, “tempietti” and the central part complete with the side sections of one of the ten large “porte” will feature in an elegant yet understated display in the inti-mate spaces of Casa Croci. Thanks to the slender structures and a complex lighting system, developed specifically for the occasion, each small room has been transformed into a kind of niche where the “Trasparenti” can be admired at close range. The display opens with two rooms devoted to historical documentation and photographs of the “Trasparenti” during the Processions. Archive materials are accompanied by a number of tools and a series of lanterns: carried by hand during the Processions, these account for more than half of the approximately 600 items.