Residenze aristocratiche, spazi urbani e interventi principeschi nella Milano di Ludovico Maria Sforza (1480-1499), relatore Prof. Letizia Arcangeli, correlatore Prof. Giovanni Agosti. Tesi discussa il 22 giugno 2006; valutazione 110/110 e lode.

Rossetti, Edoardo (2006) Residenze aristocratiche, spazi urbani e interventi principeschi nella Milano di Ludovico Maria Sforza (1480-1499), relatore Prof. Letizia Arcangeli, correlatore Prof. Giovanni Agosti. Tesi discussa il 22 giugno 2006; valutazione 110/110 e lode. Bachelor thesis, Università degli Studi di Milano.

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Too little or inadequate attention is paid to the capital city of Sforza Visconti duchy and its relationship with the prince. The aim of the thesis was to begin a consideration on this matter, starting from a peculiar point of view, that is the one of urban interventions supported by Ludovico Maria Sforza (1480-1499). Between the end of XIX and the beginning of XX century a few academics of the Renaissance Milan, recalling the few sources of the XV and XVI centuries and on the basis of an insufficient series of documents, tried to trace a reading path about the urban projects of Ludovico il Moro for the Milan closest districts to Porta Giovia castle and the Dominican convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie. The results of the studies of this historiographic season have been evoked – more or less without any further researches and in-depth analysis – all XX century long and almost exclusively by architecture and urban planning historians. In the Milan case, too little attention have been paid by the historians to the relationship among urban structures, noble settlements and prince interventions on the physical space of the city. Moreover, studying the XV century Milan duchy, the attention of the recent historiography has been generally focused on the analysis of the contribution given by the different political and social structures (rural and semi-urban communities, court, bureaucratic and military institutions, ecclesiastic entities, families and lineages, etc.) to the creation of a «regional state», while very little focus – made a few exceptions – has been given to the capital city and its complex social and urban situation. The matters were essentially the following: once unmasked the myths of the XIX century tradition, which was the real weight of the urban interventions supported by Ludovico il Moro? Which was the reaction of the Milan social fabric to these possible interferences of the prince in the structure of the city? An introductory bibliographic research has allowed to identify sources and courses of research. As the ducal Missives and Registers containing privileges and donations about urban projects had already been largely examined by the mainstrem studies about the topic, and in lack of XV century estimations, the main source on which the work can be based is the Notarial Fund, preserved in the Milan State Archive. Given the great bulk of the material preserved in this fund and the almost total lack of indexation instruments useful to give access keys to the documentation, it has been tried through a further exam of the publications to identify some notaries linked with the Sforza court and its entourage, actives in particular urban zones and parishes; in relation to this last aspect the attention has been focused on the parish of Porta Vercellina and Porta Comasina districts, near the castle of the Sforza court. The urban shape of this area has been partially rebuilt through a specific exam of trades, rentals and donations of real estates. The material collected has allowed to throw light on the other districts of the city, creating a useful comparison between the contado and other urban areas sometimes dominated by the massive presence of some Milan lineages. The almost cadastral rebuilding of the city has produced new elements to discuss again the internal relationships among some Milan or forensic lineages, and also among them with the ducal system and the duke himself. Comparing other data from different types of documents preserved in the same fund (dowries, wills etc.), customer, familiar and neighborhood relationships emerged, which strenghtened specific areas of the city with likewise specific areas of the countship. The action of the duke on the capital city – in reformulating its structure too – had been downsized by power interdictions firmly entrenched in some districts. Anyway, the theories about the direct urban interventions by Ludovico il Moro on the new Piazza Grande in front of the castle and on the suburban district of Porta Vercellina have been partially confirmed. These latest discoveries have been compared according to new aspects with similar projects supported by other renaissance princes, in particular in the Padan states context. Absolutely unpublished and significant has been the rediscovery of the massive presence in the city of a considerable number of aristocratic residences relative to out-and-out autonomous urban spaces; generally situated in the six main city districts, these abodes were especially concentrated in some areas of Porta Vercellina and Porta Comasina districts. Of these very important buildings at that time, almost any of which abandoned by the respective lineages by the first half of XVI century, the city holds neither material (no visible traces of those ancient structures have been left) nor immaterial memory (the memory of the urban toponyms has not been preserved too). Just some rare and different sources and the notarial documentation allow to rebuild partially their image. Therefore a new definition of the Milan scene emerged, dominated on one side by the numerous local agnations composing that populous middle class of cives called nobiles in the documents but not properly so definable according to the contemporary historiographic parameters, and on the other side by the big families of territorial Lombardy aristocracy in constant and not always pacific interaction with the crowd of financial experts and powerful legal secretaries which, supported by the prince, longed for reaching the vertex of the city elites. The homes of all these groups, their formal mutations regarding the new fashion standards and art novelties, the property tranfers, the housing continuities of this or that family in contrast with the address changes towards areas nearer the power ducal or other aristocracy centers, have become symbolic junctions to set out a path of loyalty or betrayal to the prince, social arises and collapses, fortunes and misfortunes in the city fabric.

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