Diana's Theater

Following the restoration works promoted by FAR with the support of the Archaeological Superintendency, Fine Arts and Landscape for the Metropolitan City of Milan, the majestic Diana's Theater returns to its former glory, which visitors will find much changed compared to how they remembered it. During the restoration, in fact, traces of the nineteenth-century colors were found, very different from the twentieth-century ones: the nineteenth-century architectural and decorative project provided, in fact, a palette of colors that recalled the types of stone that make up the structure, or the serizzo , the stump, the sandstone and the pink granite. These are, therefore, the colors that the public will be able to admire, appropriately studied and relocated according to the original decorative project.
The sculptures depicting Diana's two handmaids are in white marble, consequently also the imposing plaster statue of the goddess simulates this precious material. The most evident chromatic difference compared to what we were used to seeing can be seen on the upper part of Diana's niche, where the baroque-style shell no longer appears, replaced by the starry sky found during restoration: a direct reference to Diana divinity of the night and purity.

During the restoration, it was also possible to understand that during the nineteenth century the theater was structurally modified: in fact, the top was raised by inserting a sundial over the tympanum. For the first time in more than a century, the theater's complex water play system, the most impressive and spectacular of the entire historic garden, will once again function! The water games of the beautiful Fontana dei Tritoni in front of Diana, made of Candoglia marble, built on the project of the great seventeenth-century painter and sculptor Camillo Procaccini will also spring.

The history of the theater:
Diana's Theater is one of the oldest in the villa: it can already be found in a late seventeenth-century engraving that illustrates the garden of Castellazzo di Galeazzo Arconati and is reproduced both in the eighteenth-century prints of Marc'Antonio Dal Re and in the historical photographs of the late nineteenth century . It is no coincidence that Diana's theater is located on the main perspective from the west entrance (on the road to Varese) and is the largest theater among all those present in the villa: Diana is, in fact, the protective deity of the hunt, a favorite pastime aristocracy.

The finds:
During the restoration, the original stucco arch was found on the back of the statue of Diana, which was replaced on the left shoulder of the goddess. The wooden bow that was in the left hand of the statue will be replaced with an arrow, as it was originally. Finally, thanks to some eighteenth-century documents and historical photographs, it was possible to decipher and reproduce the two Latin mottos placed in the scrolls: on the upper part «Praesidet hic nemorum custos, custosq. pudoris» on the base «ipsa sibi sedem formavit diva triformis». Two clear references to the goddess and her most classic mythological characteristics.

Augusto Rancilio Foundation would like to thank Magistri Restauro and SAEM-SMC for their efforts in the recovery of the property.