Wonder  }  Architecture

Perabò Houses

A hidden nook in the heart of the ancient village

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Where is


Via Albuzzi, 8, 21100 Varese VA, Italia (0m s.l.m.)


What it is and where it is

They historically constituted the residential area of the Varese merchants, located in the city center, mainly in what is now Albuzzi Street, a side street of Corso Matteotti. It is an orderly courtyard complex, a small world apart that is accessed through a large sixteenth-century doorway of Albertian art located on the right side of the facade, below the Gothic window. The exterior of the building is very simple and understated, but once inside, the wealth of details from times past is overwhelming.

Why it is special

Indeed, entering the courtyards represents a journey through the centuries: the railing houses, the frescoes on the ceiling before the gate of the exit to Via Griffi, the family tree, the depiction of the Pieta on the exterior wall of Casa Perabò, the coat of arms visible on the cobblestone floor, with an ox surmounted by a group of three leafy pears, where the contrast of colors enhances the belligerence of the animal and the three pears recall peasant life... these are all surprising elements that tell the story of one of the most important families in the city of Varese between the 13th and 14th centuries.

Not to be missed

If the family was so wealthy, is it possible that it did not show it on the outside as well? Certainly not, and in fact on the facade we can admire a single-light window in terracotta in the Gothic style, which as a whole represents a reminder of the magnificence of the ancient lineage. It is a valuable example of 15th-century Lombard Gothic, the style of which is also recalled in the front door. Of particular value then, are frescoes on the vaulted entrance to the courtyard overlooking Via Griffi, as well as noteworthy is the coat of arms of the House found on one of the columns in Corso Matteotti.

A bit of history

The complex dates back to the 14th century. Heraldic documents from 1791 have reconstructed the genealogy of the Perabò family, whose "official progenitor" was Ambrogio, who lived in the early 14th century. The Perabò family was one of the oldest and noblest lineages in the political and religious life of the town of Varese. They reached their greatest splendor and power in the 16th century; the family's historical cycle ended in 1860 with the death of the last lord of the Perabò house, Don Pasquale.


In the complex of the Perabò Houses there are still two actors that have much to tell even if they might escape at first glance: the well and the oven, the absolute protagonists of the family's daily life. The well supplied the family with water, while the oven was used to bake the Perabòs' bread, kneaded with flour from the nearby press. The more imaginative can almost hear the creaking of the well chain and the crackling of the fire, while an irresistible scent of bread wafts through the courtyard, just as it did centuries ago.

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Comune di Varese

Observing the buildings that belonged to the Perabò family, the Gothic window and the inner courtyards, one is enveloped in the atmosphere that was enjoyed in Varese during the times when the village reached its greatest prestige.


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