Welcome to the virtual tour of the Bicocca degli Arcimboldi, which will take you through the history and rooms of this wonderful Renaissance building, now the official reception centre of the Pirelli Group. Here are some useful tips to give you a better browsing experience.
You can walk virtually through the rooms, moving in any direction, to whichever room or floor you like, using the arrows you see on the main screen.
A fixed icon at the top right gives you direct access to the various rooms and lets you examine the information that will enrich your virtual experience. Press the button at the bottom right to access this content. The Pirelli Foundation has selected documents and images that let you discover the history of the villa and its close bond with the company.
You can save time by pressing the button at the bottom left, which will take you directly to the next room.
Enjoy the tour!
The Pirelli Foundation staff
Simboli e leggende
The "Sala del Sole Raggiante" (the “Hall of the Radiant Sun”) is decorated with the sun motif that is typically associated with the Visconti and later the Sforza families, with whom the Arcimboldi had close ties. Gian Galeazzo Visconti was the first to use the sun as a symbol of his government and it can be found in many buildings in what used to be the Duchy of Milan. This room preserves a spire and a large marble floor slab. The inscription on the floor is Opus Domus Mediolanensis. Legend has it that the two artefacts were being transported along the canal to the Duomo of Milan, which was under construction at the time, when the boat sank and they were salvaged and taken to the Bicocca degli Arcimboldi, where they were used to decorate the villa. It is more likely, however, that the two fragments from the cathedral were placed in this room by Piero Portaluppi, who had worked on renovating the cathedral parvis in the 1920s.
View of the “Hall of the Radiant Sun” in a photograph published in Pirelli magazine, 1959
Detail of the decorative motif of the radiant sun
A spire from Milan Cathedral, presumably brought here by Piero Portaluppi during the 1953 restoration. Photo: Niccolò Rastrelli, 2018
Floor slab in Candoglia marble bearing the inscription Opus Domus Mediolanensis
Il motto in latino
This passageway is accessed through a high seventeenth-century door in black and white marble inlaid with acanthus leaves, which gives the building a touch of opulence, in contrast to the rustic style of the original part of the villa. The decoration, with pomegranate branches forming a grid, was entirely recreated during the restoration in the 1990s, based on original fragments. The motif with a radiant anthropomorphised sun appears where the foliage intersects and, in the spaces without branches, two hands are shown in prayer above the motto Sempre in Dio (“Always in God”). With the ruby-red colour of its grains, the pomegranate recalls Christ’s crown of thorns and alludes to his martyrdom. The room is adorned with a chest of drawers dating from the seventeenth century.
The “Always in God” motto is a feature in the decoration of the hall, together with pomegranate branches
A 17th-century door in black and white marble inlaid with acanthus leaves, leading to the room with the motto “Always in God”
Detail of the decoration of the hall with a floral motif and the motto “Always in God”