When the curtain rose on the Pio Chapel
There was a relatively long time when people seemed to forget about the huge historical and artistic value of the 16th-century Pio Chapel – inside the monumental Pio Palace (or Pio Castle), in Carpi, built between the 11th and the 16th century and home to the noble house of Pio from the 1300s to the 1500s.
A tourist guide from the mid-1800s indeed states that while “the excellence of the paintings in this Chapel was known by tradition in town, as attested in many local historical records […]; nevertheless, for a long time nobody made efforts to take this noteworthy oratory back out of oblivion, and the building was already in bad shape when in 1642 it was barbarically transformed, in part, into three dressing rooms for actors performing in the contiguous sets.”
“It was only as the old theater was demolished and the new one was built that the esteemed Francesco Franciosi, an antiques expert, noticed that gradually tearing down the inner walls revealed parts of beautiful paintings that had been covered with white paint; he got a permit and started to unveil them completely.”
So we must thank the passion of this “antiques expert” if today we can enjoy the beauty of the paintings by Vincenzo Catena and Bernardino Loschi, or the rounds in glazed polychrome terracotta by Andrea Della Robbia, that decorate this wonderful building.