I like when people tell me on the phone: “He’s not at home. If you want to find him, you have to go to the main square; you’ll find him there, chatting with his friends…”
If you are looking for someone in Montichiari, whether he is important or not, you have to go first to Garibaldi Square. Don’t you know what chatting in a square means? There you can cultivate friendships, live the town. This is Montichiari: chatter, friendship, rumors, initiative and then chatter again.
It is difficult to find a village with no cars in its square; it is even more difficult to find the people who are there. This is why, beyond palaces and monuments, beyond wealth and poverty, in a little village meeting and mutual help can mark history. It is important to know how many Roman tombstones there are, it is curious to learn about battles, to remember the kings who besieged the city and the soldiers who plundered it. But the history of our forefathers and the relationships they established is absolutely more instructive.
Most of the people in Montichiari lead a life of poverty, because they depended on the agrarian production. Few landowners could live on land, while the other people had to survive in poverty and had a life riddled with privations. They were at the mercy of the municipality, which with its charity in 1554 gave the poorest citizens more than 31 million square yards. That action could help many families out of a difficult situation but, because of some speculations, it favoured also the enrichment of the families Zamboni, Rodella, Tabarini, Piccinelli, Chiarini, Boschetti, Maccabini and Scolari. During the XVII century, after a difficult period, because of the bad economy and the dead from the pestilence, some families could live in affluence, thanks to sericulture, an activity that made later Montichiari, and Chiari, one of the leading centres in the sector. The coming of industrial production and the concentration of the land within a few rich men did not better the poor’s life. Only the Church and its laic organizations could meet the needs of those people. Venice and the other princes that had ruled Brescia didn’t care about poverty and misery, they just wanted more fees.
The brotherhood of Disciplini, in addition to religious purposes, gave some of its belongings to the poor. The brotherhood of St. Rosario distributed millet and managed a mount of piety. The Disciplini used their money to assist the needy and to distribute bread. From 1565-66 a charity association worked for the destitute. In 1644 they built the hospital, desired by the dioceses of the Council of Trent (not on Venice’s initiative). It extended hospitality to “any poor or invalid person, after having verified their real indigence”. Thanks to the increased founds the hospital could “not only host foreigners, but also distribute them clothes and give alms to the poor”. People that nowadays want to defend our Christian roots and traditions should remember the past hospitality towards foreigners and fellow citizens.
Christian charity alleviated the widespread poverty, but could not beat it. However, the people in Montichiari managed to meet the poor’s needs. Even if the reasons were very different: love for the neighbours, self-liking or effort to save one’s soul by helping the other.
In 1838, after the renovation of St. Rocco Church, they inaugurated a real public hospital, with ten beds. During the renovations the architect Bicelli died. Doctor Paolo Boschetti was put in charge of the hospital.
We can not forget the female orphanage, which was born in 1793 to “fight against the painful situation of the numerous abandoned girls, or to help those girls who don’t have a spiritual or civil education”. The institute was open to orphans from Montichiari but also from the other provinces, and the funds came from benefactors. Ignazio Palazzi, since 1798, paid every year a big sum, until his death in 1810.
Montichiari was such a thrilling spectacle! Will its citizens follow in their forefathers’ footsteps? At this point, it’s worth to meet again at the square.
“Giacomo Bergomi” Museum
Centro Fiera del Garda
Via Brescia, 129
25018 Montichiari (BS)
-Tuesday and 9:00-13:00 and 15:00-18:00
-Wednesday 9:00-13:00 and 14:00-18:00
-Friday 9:00- 13:00
-Saturday and Sunday 15:00-18:30
Bergomi Museum was open in 2004 thanks to the municipality, guided at that time by Mayor Rosa, who received from the famous painter and sculptor Giacomo Bergomi over 6000 objects of the alpine and Po valley agricultural world. On the inside, every piece is shown and explained. There are also didactic laboratories for the schools (milk, cheese and butter production).
Pasinetti Picture Gallery
Via Trieste, 56
25018 Montichiari (BS)
Wednesday 9:00-12:00 and 15:00- 18:00
Friday 9:00-12:00 and 15:00- 18:30
The Pasinetti Picture Gallery was born in 2007 thanks to the donation of Professor Laura Pasinetti, the painter Antonio Pasinetti’s niece. He was born in Montichiari and decided to bequeath his works to the municipality: over 500 paintings painted by him and his homonymous nephew, jewellery, vintage cars, furniture, books and money. In the Picture Gallery, there are over a hundred paintings, which give the idea of the painter’s evolution. An elegant bookshop enhances and embellishes the exhibition. The Pasinetti Picture Gallery is in the ex-hospital building, on the first floor and on the attic. The city library is in the same building.
Via Trieste, 26
25018 Montichiari (BS)
From the 30th March to the 1st November, only with conducted tours:
Sunday 10:00-12:00 and 15:00-19:00
Bonoris Castle, made in the last decade of the XIX century, was born at the request of the customer, who wanted to recreate a medieval fortress on the remains of the ancient stronghold. The building, which has many similarities to Valentino Castle and to Fenis Castle, has magnificent rooms, with frescoes and furniture; a weapon room and a private little chapel. A rich park surrounds the fortress, which towers above the city centre.