Tempio Voltiano

"The creation of the Volta Temple (Tempio Voltiano), dedicated to Alessandro Volta (1745-1827), the pioneering scientist from Como, was promoted and funded by the local industrialist and politician Francesco Somaini (1855-1939). Somaini donated the building to the City of Como as a suitable site for the preservation and valorisation of curiosities and memorabilia relating to the life and work of the physicist to whom it is dedicated. When the City of Como decided it should celebrate the first centennial of the invention of the electric battery with an important exhibition in 1899, the general idea was that the public display should comprise some of the finest examples of the scientific instruments created and used by Volta. However, a devastating fire that occurred during the Exhibition in July 1899 destroyed a large part of these valuable exhibits and memorabilia. (…) what was left of the historic instruments after the catastrophe now lay forgotten in the Civic Museums of the city. Shortly before first centenary (1927) of the death of the famous scientist, Francesco Somaini decided to find a solution to the dishonourable situation (…). Somaini felt that a monumental 'temple' located close the lake might serve as an excellent backdrop for the restored collection of exhibits"1. The project was entrusted to Italian architect Federico Frigerio; the building was completed in May 1927, but was officially inaugurated only in July 19282.

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The memorial tablet and the two statues of Science and Faith decorating the main facade of the building

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A general view of the interior of the Temple and the marble bust of Volta

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Four stucco high-relief panels, by Pietro Clerici, depicting episodes of Volta's life

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An elegant showcase with the complete Works of Alessandro Volta

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The ceiling of the Temple

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One of the fifteen showcases containing Volta's scientific instruments

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Some examples of Volta's earliest batteries

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  • Photos by Luca Borghi ti.supmacinu|ihgrob.l#| (August 2015)

Bibliography

- Alberto Longatti (ed.), The Volta Temple in Como. A Guide. With an updated about the Volta Lighthouse, New Press, Cermenate (Como) 2015, pp. 92


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