Rydzyna and Italian Artists

The six-hundred-year-old small town Rydzyna (in Western Poland, half way between Poznan and Wroclaw), is called ‘the pearl of Polish Baroque and owes its fame to the artistic protection of noble families: the Leszczynskis and the Sulkowskis. The Leszczynski fa-mily members, who made Rydzyna their main seat, were students at Italian universities (Raphael Leszczynski was a pupil of Galileo Galilei). The residence was built by Giuseppe Simon Belotti from Lugnano, at the and of 17 th century. Not only was he an architect but also a manager of stucco workshops and a supervisor of decorative works made by Italian plasterers and sculptors. Belotti designed the Leszczynskis’ Palace in ‘palazzo in modo fortezza’ style, following the example of Poggio Reale by Sebastiano Serlio (Serliano).

Another Italian artist who settled in Poland, Michelangelo Palloni from Florence, decorated ceilings in the palace in Rydzyna with splendid frescos. At the beginning of the18 th century Pompeo Ferrari came to Rydzyna. He was a talented architect from Rome, laureate of the St. Lucas Academy. He settled here for the rest of his life and after his death in 1736 was buried in the parish church. Pompeo Ferrari designed the Rydzyna palace reconstruction which was the beginning of the famous urban planning of Rydzyna, whose aim was to join the palace and the town in a harmonious composition. Apart from that he was a designer of other magnificient buildings in Wielkopolska (Great Poland).

Other artists under the artistic patronage of the Leszczynski family were three brothers Catenazi from Morbio Inferiore in Mendrisiotto, (in Ticino in Italian Switzerland. The splendid heritage of the past has been carefully protected in Rydzyna, where people always remember creators of beauty. After the Great Northern War, Polish king Stanislaw Leszczynski was forced to leave Poland and settled in Lorraine. The next owners of Rydzyna, the Sulkowski family, completed the urban planning of the town started by Ferrari. Although this family mainly used artists from Silesia, Italians were still present in Rydzyna, e.g. Francesco Arcolario decorated interiors of the parish church and Domenico Merlini designed the impressive Ball Room in the palace.

The splendid heritage of the past has been carefully protected in Rydzyna, where people always remember creators of beauty.