The history of Casa Croci

The architect Antonio Croci (1823-1884) studied architecture at the Accademia delle Belle Arti in Milan, where he distinguished himself by winning first prize in a competition for 'Architectural Invention'.
He lived for a long time in Turkey, where he worked for the court of Constantinople. There are still many uncertainties about him and his work: the archive with the plans of his studios, kept by a distant relative as Croci remained a bachelor and had no direct heirs, was sent to the scrap heap; it is almost certain that he worked on several occasions for the Russian Baron Von der Wies, in particular on the construction of the Valrose castle in Nice, completed in 1869; between 1861 and 1865 he worked on the renovation of the church of San Giorgio in Ernen and the church of Lax, also in Valais in 1874. The following year he collaborated with Vincenzo Vela (sculptor 1820-1891) on the equestrian monument dedicated to the Duke of Brunswick, which was never built and whose model is kept in the Vela Museum in Ligornetto.
After a long stay in Latin America between 1871 and 1872 in Buenos Aires, Antonio Croci was commissioned by the Bernasconi family from Mendrisio to build Villa Argentina in Mendrisio.
In 1858, he built his own house in Mendrisio (known today as "Casa Croci") on the sunny slope called Carlasch (the same building is still identified with that name today. Over the years, other buildings besieged the originally solitary Casa Croci, hiding the state of decay to which it had been abandoned. Fortunately, in the 1970s its architectural value was rediscovered. Today, completely and finely restored, it is part of the heritage of the cantonal catalogue of monuments, and has been used for temporary exhibitions.
Since 2017 Casa Croci has been the seat of the Museo del Trasparente and hosts a permanent exhibition that allows visitors to observe the precious objects up close and throughout the year: on the ground floor a section is dedicated to the historical Processions and their history; on the first floor the various typologies that characterise the exceptional decorative apparatus of "transparencies"; on the second floor a section dedicated to the problems of execution, conservation and restoration.