The building that houses the Pinacoteca Civica in Como, Palazzo Volpi, is located in the south-west of the walled city, it was built in the third decade of the Seventeenth century by Ulpiano Volpi, who had a successful ecclesiastical career at the Roman Curia, thanks to this he guaranteed his family a rapid social rise.
The design of the building, sent to Como from Rome, was drafted by a Sienese architect Sergio Venturi, known for the construction of the catafalque of Pope Paul V. The building has a severe appearance, it is embellished by the beautiful portal “a bugne” and stands out from the neighboring buildings.
It has a U-shaped plant, incomplete in the northern wing, open on the terraced garden. Towards the inner courtyard there is a beautiful Roman portico. It was a noble residence of the Volpi family and then of the Canarisi family until the mid-nineteenth century, when it was purchased by the State, which allocated it to the Judicial Court, sacrificing the garden to build the Prisons.
Sold in the seventies of the twentieth century to the City of Como, it was then renovated and set up to become a museum.
At the end of the Eighties the Palazzo represented the ideal outlet for the expansion of the civic museums, the art collections were gradually transferred here, the collections consist of paintings and sculptures from the Middle Ages to the Twentieth century, originally exhibited or kept in the Palazzo deposits of Palazzo Giovio and Palazzo Olginati.
The new headquarters were inaugurated in 1989 with the construction of three exhibitions dedicated to the Fourteenth century painting in Como, the artistic production of the Seventeenth century from Lake Como and the Twentieth-century group of the Abstracts by Como painters.
In 1992 the installation of sliding racks in the deposits allowed the transfer of the rest of the gallery from Palazzo Giovio to Palazzo Volpi.
For the adaptation of the exhibitions the structure was closed from 1999 to 2003.
The visit of Palazzo Volpi is the ideal starting point to start learning about the artistic reality of the city of Como and its territory.
In September 2003 the new section dedicated to the Middle Ages was opened.
During the following years, all the rooms of the other sections were gradually set up: Renaissance, Quadreria (Paintings), Novecento (Twentieth Century).