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THE FARMSTEADS OF THE PARK  


The western front of Villa Mirabello

Little remains of the "cascine" or farmsteads that pre­ceded the creation of the Park. Early surveys carried out by Canonica give evidence of a fairly typical form of house, usually composed of one or two juxtaposed fami­ly units, each with its own well and oven, and sharing a portico and verandah. The kitchen was normally on the ground floor, with an accessory room for the breeding of silk-worms, and the bedrooms situated on the upper floor. Alongside the house itself there was a lower building consisting of a stable and hay-loft. Canonica also explains in his surveys why a given farmstead had to be demolished or modified, and though no formal plan was followed for the design, the buildings have a keen sense of overall unity, blending in with the surrounding landscape, like scenery for a play. After 1805, when the Park was created, a number of buildings were given picturesque additions, such as am­ple porticoes on two levels, with towers in the neoclassical manner (the Frutteto farmstead, ), or even covering them in marble facing taken from other constructions (the San Fedele farmstead, ).
Some of the buildings, such as the Fontana farmstead  and the portico of the Serraglio  were given neo-gothic details, probably reflecting the French tastes of the day. Today the Frutteto farmstead, more closely resembling a "Palladian" villa than a rustic farmhouse, is the home of the agricultural school for women. Once the building was the focus of an experimental orchard shaped in a circle. It used to be surrounded by an irrigation channel. like a moat. but this has since been filled in. 

The Frutteto farmestead

Commanding a key position and posing a suitable counterpoint to the neo-gothic tower in the Royal Gardens is the San Fedele farmstead, built on a rectangular floorplan with alternating white and dark marble facing enhanced with material retrieved from the church of Santa Maria di Brera in Milan. North of  Villa Mirabellino stands the Fontana farmstead, also on a rectangular floorplan with ogival arches. Behind the farmstead are three low build­ings used as cowsheds and stables

Partial view of the Villa Mirabello

During the period of Austrian Restoration in Italy, until 1857, the engineer Giacomo Tazzini continued building new farmsteads, occasionally availing himself of plans drawn up by Canonica and those of even earlier date. Farmsteads that can be safely attributed to Tazzini are the Mulini Asciutti (1834), the Cascina del Sole (1839) recently restructured and converted into a restaurant facility; the Mulino del Cantone mill (1840), and the Cernuschi farmstead (1847). .

 

   

    

 

One of two building  of the housefarm 
Molini Asciutti
One of two stalles of the housefarm 
Molini Asciutti
The farmsteads and mills survive as important specimens of rural Lombard architecture, and provide further evidence of the agricultural vocation of the Park

The Costa Bassa farmeastead  The Costa Alta farmeastead 
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