Entering the Due Torri Hotel in Verona, one is amazed how every object and every decoration seems to have a story behind it. A thread ties past to present through time in an uninterrupted relationship that uses the universal language of art. Today we explore the spectacular 300-metre-long lounge, which houses The Brandenburg Knights’ Tournament, a fresco by Pino Casarini, as well as a number of seventeenth-century paintings.
The Brandenburg Knights come to life again on the walls
The large-scale fresco by Pino Casarini that decorates an ample portion of the lounge commemorates the history
of the city and the building. In the eighteenth century the Palazzo dell'Aquila
– the Palace of the Eagle, as it was then known – served as the guest quarters for the Della Scala family, the Lords of Verona. This is where the 500 Brandenburg Knights lodged when they were sent to the city by Ludovic of Brandenburg to protect his ally Cangrand II
. The nearby church of San Giorgetto, as the Veronesi still call it, was their private chapel. In the end, however, the knights’ intervention failed to prevent the death of Cangrande II, who was murdered by his brother Cansignorio.
That era, so packed with dramatic turns in events, betrayals and palace intrigues, was evoked centuries later by Pino Casarini
in a work that depicts the chivalrous world of knights of old. The fresco painter – one of the twentieth century’s finest – was commissioned by Enrico Wallner
, the then owner of the Due Torri, to decorate the hotel. This masterpiece and the lesser-known Arena Casarini
, inspired by the world of the circus, have now been restored and returned to their former splendour by the present owners.
A treasure hunt for the paintings of Il Legnano, much loved by Wellner
Some in the hall, others elsewhere, the hotel is decorated throughout with the paintings of Francesco Barbieri
, known as “Il Legnano
”, who was born in Legnano in 1623 and died in Verona in 1698. There are sixteen of them, all allegories, according to the fashion of the time: twelve represent the months of the year, four the seasons. The painter was a classic exponent of the Veronese baroque
Before coming to the Due Torri, the paintings used to hang on the ceiling of the drawing room at Villa Zeiner-Wallner. It was Enrico Wallner, husband of Elisa Zeiner, the last descendant of the owners of the villa, who decided to move them to the hotel. It was also Wallner who did the rounds of antique dealers to buy all the Biedermeier furniture that graces the hotel, who designed and furnished the rooms, who called in Pino Casarini to execute the most important wall decorations. For Wallner, nothing could be too beautiful for his hotel, which opened on December 31 1958 with its new name: Due Torri Hotel.