Fondazione Maria Cristina Cicogna Mozzoni ONLUS

The Foundation, origin and mission:
“Fondazione Maria Cristina Cicogna Mozzoni ONLUS” was created on 10th January 2014, according to Donna Maria Cristina Cicogna Mozzoni’s last will and testament that suggested reserving half of her inheritance in favour of the upkeep and conservation of the villa and gardens in Bisuschio Italy, that she loved so much. The seven heirs (founders) decided to set up a Charity Foundation that would be committed to preserving, conserving and promoting the villa and gardens and that would also have access to donations, fiscal benefits and grants. Italian Authorities gave their approval and registered the Foundation on the list of Charity organizations allowed to add the ONLUS mark (in Italian: “Organizzazione Non Lucrativa di Utilità Sociale”, that is - a non-profit organization useful for social purposes).
The founders elected Francesco Cicogna Mozzoni as their President who is responsible for every act of the Foundation.

Maria Cristina Cicogna Mozzoni together with her brothers Carlo and Niccolò

The Foundation’s Heritage
The seven founders have created a fund with the legacy of Donna Maria Cristina Cicogna Mozzoni and have the possibility of increasing it through donations and legacy. They can also raise funds from grants given for historic preservation and fund-raising activities in general.

What the Foundation protects
The Villa and gardens named “Villa Cicogna Mozzoni” in Bisuschio (County of Varese - Italy) are the country house and gardens held and built by the Mozzoni family from the first half of the 15th Century and is composed of:

  • The Hunting lodge built before 1440.

  • The Villa added between 1535 and 1560 enlarging the previous building and renewing the whole architecture into a “Villa of delight”, completely decorated with fresco paintings in 1560*. On the ground-floor, the rooms were renovated during the 18th Century with stucco work and boiserie.
  • The Renaissance garden with Boxwood (Buxus sempervirens) and Bay Laurel (Laurus nobilis) shaped with topiary art, with terraced gardens, statuary, fountains, flowerbeds and water games.
    • The 18th Century Garden

    • The English garden laid out in the 19th Century with monumental trees.

    • The Green Houses built during the second half of 19th Century
  • The Archive with documents dating back to the 13th Century and 554 record books (16th – 20th).

  • The Roman Epigraph dated 1st- 2nd Century

The present state of conservation is quite good though there are some critical features in need of urgent intervention.
At present, the site is open to the public as a house-musuem with guided tours on a regular basis. It is also used for photo-shoots, ceremonies and events.

*Fresco paintings, normally associated with the school of the Campi Brothers from Cremona, cover the entire surface (outside and inside) and recently we discovered that many mythological scenes were copied from two illustrated books printed in the 16th Century (“Le trasformazioni” by M. Lodovico Dolce with illustrations by Giovanni Antonio Rusconi - Venezia 1553 and “Emblemata” by Andrea Alciato - Lione 1550).
The rooms inside are all furnished with the same furnishings and objects used by the family during their stays in Bisuschio for their vacations (mainly in summer and autumn) and also during periods of supervision and administration of their agricultural estates. In particular, the artefacts and furnishings illustrate the lifestyle of the times (bedrooms, library, reception room, musical instruments, portraits, etc).

The Activities of the Foundation
1) Every act made directly to conserve and promote the Villa and gardens:

  • To monitor the state of conservation of every artefact, documenting and registering each one according to the standards requested by the local authority with a consequent list of priorities of intervention. The garden requires the same documentation and registration, although with different procedures, so that a detailed list of ordinary and extra-ordinary intervention can be drawn up. The intention is to maintain the integrity, the functional efficiency and the identity of what is protected and to perform constant monitoring of its quality.

  • To increase the offer of activities related to the knowledge of the site and increase its value by improving paths for visits and new fittings.

  • The use of qualified companies to estimate costs and to carry out the intervention required, according to decisions made each time on the basis of the expenses and funds raised for every conserving project.

  • To organize meetings and visits for training and study activities.

  • To organize picture exhibitions, cultural and musical events.

2) Every act made to manage and increase the fund, and to provide human resources, support and sponsors.:

  • Management of the fund in the mid-term, capable of guaranteeing the ordinary up-keep of the site and a timetable of sustainable extra-ordinary intervention.

  • To search for participants within the local authority (e.g. Village of Bisuschio, County of Varese, Region Lombardia, etc.) and abroad.

  • To search for volunteers, community service participants and free services from qualified professionals.

  • To spread the knowledge of the site and promote the growth of culture within the local community.

  • Fund-raising activities, monitoring of grants given for historical matters and applications for funding.

  • Collaboration with similar foundations and associations, with Universities, Local Heritage authorities, museums, gardens, schools, professionals and all those who are related to historical heritage in Italy and abroad, with the aim of working together, mutual assistance, twinnings.

  • To join with other similar museums or corporations of museums and gardens.

  • To search for participants, supporters, donators, sponsors within the stakeholders, community and banks.

Projects already carried out or under way:
In these early years, the Foundation has begun to work for its mission, starting with several small repairs and restoration/conservation works.

  • Four shutters that were in very bad condition were replaced with new ones and an old one was repainted. Now the windows are much better protected.

  • The old bathroom drainage pipes were closed and a new drainage system was created to lead water directly outside, instead of flowing under the architecture. No water now flows under the structure.

  • Two fountains were completely cleaned by removing a thick layer of limestone and moss, and then treated with water-proof protection.

  • Three rain-water drains were cleaned and repaired in the courtyard.

  • Filing of the archive: The first step of three phases was completed in August 2016 and saw the cataloguing of the 554 record books found in the archives.

  • Repair of the roof of the small portico looking north.

Our next projects:

  • Repositioning of all the roof tiles adding new hooks for the entire roof.

  • Continuation of the Archive Project, with the intention of finding new partners and preparing a specific project on the many parchments that we conserve (at least 50, all dating from the 13th- 14th Century).

  • Waterproofing and cleaning of the two statues in the Renaissance garden

  • Cleaning and valorisation of the Roman Epigraph.

  • Map of the drainage system (garden and house).

  • Creation of new marketing material to promote the Foundation.

The Foundation, by law, may receive funds directly from Italian citizens by means of the 5X1000 voluntary contribution on their annual income tax return (IRPEF).

The Foundation may also receive donations from non-Italian residents.
Monies can be wired to:
Account Name: Fondazione Maria Cristina Cicogna Mozzoni ONLUS
Account Address: Viale Cicogna, 8 - 21050 Bisuschio (Varese) Italy
Fiscal Code: 95079810123
Banca: Intesa Sanpaolo S.p.a. filiale di Bisuschio
Via Mazzini, 28
21050 Bisuschio Varese
IBAN: IT80F 03069 50676 1000 0000 0803