Casa Croci, a small 19th-century architectural gem, house the Museo del Trasparente of Mendrisio (Illuminated Paintings Museum). This will be the first exhibition space devoted to one of the region’s most distinctive and extraordinary artistic and historic legacies: an age-old living tradition that has led the Confederation to candidate the Processions of Holy Week of Mendrisio as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage.
First introduced in around 1790 by a local monk, Antonio Maria Baroffio (1732-1798), and produced by a painter from Rovio, Giovanni Battista Bagutti (1742-1823), the "Trasparenti" represent a unique instance of a blend of the Enlightenment culture with the Baroque tradition of temporary structures, featuring an exceptionally modern technique and great communicative efficacy.
The museum in Casa Croci provides an opportunity to observe these wonderful objects close-up, to learn about how they are made and to find out more about the various different types of this unusual decorative item. The "Trasparenti" are illuminated nocturnal paintings used to embellish the ancient town along the route of the Maundy Thursday and Good Friday Processions, a much-loved folk tradition among the local people that has changed very little over the years. On procession days they attract tens of thousands of people from all over the canton of Ticino and from other countries, drawn by the scenic beauty and intensity of the celebrations.
The intimate spaces of Casa Croci will display twenty-six of these objects, including lanterns, instruments of the Passion, sails, lesenes, balconies, shrines and the central part complete with pillars of one of the ten large doors, in an elegant yet understated display. Thanks to the slender structures and a complex lighting system, developed specifically for the occasion, each small room has been transformed into a kind of niche where the "Trasparente" can be admired at close range.