Palazzo Benzoni Scotti Martini Donati
The origin of this building dates back to the beginning of the 16th century, when it was built under the orders of Soncino Benzoni soldier of fortune, who had the privilege of hosting the king of France Louis XII in 1509 as survivor of the Venetian victory at the Battle of Agnadello. The Benzoni family distinguished itself at the beginning of the 15th century in playing important public roles in the town, including Signoria di Crema from 1404 to 1433. Paola Benzoni in particular was an important family figure. She was Socino’s niece and mother to Francesco Bernardino Visconti whose actions inspired the renowned writer, Alessandro Manzoni in the creation of the character of the Innominato in his classic novel, “Promessi Sposi”. After the marriage between Laura Benzoni, Paola’s sister, and Lucrezio Scotti, the palace was passed on to the Counts of Scotti, who lived there until 1765. The palace subsequently became the home of the Martini family until in 1932, Emilia Martini Giovio della Torre sold it to the notary Francesco Donati.
The original 15th century structure preserved in the north and west sides of the building was elevated in the 18th century when it was decided to enlarge the structure by adding an east wing. It was at this moment when the austere appearance of the palace was enriched by gabled windows and graceful decorations in the late-Baroque style. This renovation of the palace, commissioned by the Martini family, also extended to the rooms on the first floor which were decorated with elegant Grotesque and Neoclassical motifs.
The lower section of the building on the south side joins the two wings and was added in 1914 to replace the old stables. Access to the building is still to be found today on the narrow street which leads to Piazza Duomo and which Socino originally had made, demolishing part of the fortifications of the piazza in the process.
The facade is of simple and essential lines and there is a large doorway with a 15th century balcony in wrought iron above it. In the courtyard there are columns whose capitals still bear the coat of arms of the Benzoni family, a black mastiff on lozenges. The entrance to the 15th century wing is highlighted by an appealing, overhead capital.
Bricks have always been used in the construction of this building since its beginnings, as witnessed by the austere 15th century appearance on the north and west sides, which today display open brickwork, compared to those of the rendered 18th century sides characterised by extravagant decoration.
Via Marazzi, 7