Swiss Memorial Ossuary, SAN GIULIANO MILANESE

Conservation of the OSSUARY

The restoration project was to retrieve the artifact, and the rebuilding of porch, collapsed as a result of an accident. The intervention was aimed at rehabilitation of exterior and interior surfaces, covers accommodation and preparing the site for the 500th anniversary of the commemoration of the battle of the bulge, held here in 1515 and ended with the defeat of the Swiss army. The report returns the key phases of the intervention, in particular with regard to the reconstruction of the porch, which was using techniques and materials of the past.


Maria A. Pogliaghi
, Canto per i Caduti della
”Battaglia dei Giganti”
ricerche storiche e notizie
riguardanti i “morti di Mezzano”

Editori Daverio, Milano 1965

It is not known with precision when the Ossuary chapel was built. Writes g. Carimati, op. already cited “you should go to intuition. Cardinal Pozzobonelli in 1749 the reveals in elegant form received up to us, with the Pronaos with two granite columns, beneath which is painted a Madonna and child “. This small chapel-Ossuary did not mention in the pastoral visits of St. Charles Borromeo in next to all the ‘ 600. The Gerosa Brichetto in his recent monograph “The battle of Marignano” page. 186, for research done in the spiritual store of the Archbishopric of Milan, reports that even the card. Monti, who in 1653 is close the Church for its poor state, it makes no mention of the Ossuary.

The same Doctor Gerosa Brichetto I reported that on a map of cadastre so said of Maria Theresa, compiled in the year 1722 with fine in amount osteria Mezzano, that don Joseph de linas, there is only the Oratory of Santa Maria della Neve-Ossuary Chapel and there is no trace. Also that field that is between the road and the Vettabiolo Pedriano, it bore the name of lawn of the dead, as in modern maps. Therefore is to be believed, as supposed to the Carimati and Gerosa Brichetto himself suggests in his recent book, that those bones belong to an outstanding find and then built the Chapel-Ossuary to properly preserve them; trovamento place, in all likelihood, between the years 1749 1722 and the time of the visit of Cardinal Pozzobonelli.

Always the Carimati writes that “for the Church of Santa Maria della Neve it must be held that the Conventual Fathers of St. Francis since 1485 were landowners and residents of a Middle part (they were until 1798) and therefore the Church for a religious community, had been built in earlier”. The previously mentioned Dr. Gerosa Brichetto in his ongoing research on Mezzano, ensured that the Conventual Fathers of St. Francis was served by abusively in the Oratory of Santa Maria della Neve and introitavano bids, with the Provost of Melegnano, thus in the year 1613 were defendants in a criminal trial, sponsored by the Milanese Curia and were condemned to release him.

Evidently it was as a result they decided to build its own oratory, obtaining license from their provincial Father (August 6, 1619 – arch. di Stato di Milano-Primer of religion). For further accuracy it should be mention here that the original oratorio dei frati, from map of 1722, is at the bottom of the Carimati courtyard and facing the highway where there are still those five Angel heads who still remember the facade the Oratory of Saint Elizabeth. The Church of Santa Maria della Neve se ne beckons in the pastoral visits of St. Charles (1567), of Cardinal Federico Borromeo (1595). Cardinal Pozzobonelli found in good condition and there is a nice and detailed description, speaks to us of ancient paintings (see Carimati op. already cited) and also describes the three existing religious buildings to Mezzano.



Superficial deposit, had deficiencies and chromatic alteration zones especially at infiltration from cover and humidity lifts, also responsible for the proliferation of molds and exfoliation of superficiiali and layers of salt efflorescence.

Performed operation: thorough cleaning of surfaces using brush and aspirator; removal of fillings and restorations not appropriate; perform timely integration of the surface reclaimed with specially formulated mortar similar to existing for composition, grain size and colour; pictorial surface pitch of new fillings; writing a solid brush and haze with silicate silicate colours diluted.


Appeared in a precarious state of conservation, almost completely unreadable due to chromatic alteration of the surface, repainted, and the widespread presence of salt efflorescence. The color was crumbly and prone to exfoliation in particular at leak that caused the appearance of salt efflorescence. A wide color fall was evident on the mantle and the Lady’s dress.

Performed operation: removal by aspiration of the surface dust and salts, etc. clean surfaces with ammonium carbonate solution applied to a compress or brush depending on the zone, after thorough cleaning of surfaces with deionized water to remove dissolved dirt and tailings, consolidation of the pictorial film with; integration of media loopholes with lime mortar, sand and marble powder; including sealing the grooves present, retouching executed Watercolour intoning gaps undertone.


The terracotta flooring surface appeared deteriorated for wear and moisture from the soil rsalita. Some of the tiles were cracked and the mortar between joints was flawed in several places.

Performed operation: removing tiles, creating a cavity with dl elements called igloos can allow underground space ventilation, installation of new subfloor made of cast concrete with mesh.



Vast areas were particularly degraded due to infiltration of rainwater, as the roof gutter and the plinth, which were obvious efflorescences, disintegration and gaps affecting all strata of masonry. The plaster additions made in the past with mortars would accentuate these phenomena. Also molds and animal organic deposits covered the surface at several points.

Performed operation: thorough cleaning of surfaces using brush and aspirator; removal of fillings and restorations not appropriate; execution of integrations of the surface reclaimed with specially formulated mortar similar to existing for composition, grain size and colour; pictorial surface preparation General intonation to lime tint brush to sail.

FRESCO – Madonna with child

Despite the poor conditions of the building this painting had retained a good readability, being patchy in only two points along the circumference around the figures. Over-painting visible water-sensitive, in particularly the resumption of external frame that was

Performed operation: removal of superficial deposits with brushes and wishab for cleaning rubber deionized water and sponge, filling the gaps with mortar of lime, sand and marble powder; including sealing the grooves present, pictorial film fixation with Acril ME retouching executed Watercolour according the rigatino and undertone.


The roof of the building had collapsed in several places and is thereby necessitated the entire reconstruction from the internal wooden structure.

Performed operation: the following design guidelines, in particular made it possible to preserve the primary wooden truss and strengthening the supports and anchorages of the beams. To preserve a harmonious aspect with the rest of the building were employed coppi identical recovery to original appearance. The Panel works made from scratch now allow the correct downflow of rainwater, avoiding possible infiltrations.


The rediscovery of the original flooring at the porch of the ossuary and the back of the building allowed a philological reconstruction of the floor plans, through material reuse and recovery of original material found. The new made in the sides of the building were made in Opus signinum, a mixture containing inert ground and cement Binder capable of obtaining a final aesthetic effect in line with the findings.


The ossuary was presented at the beginning of the restoration without the porch.

During the excavation phase have been recovered the bases of the columns that supported it. Stone artifacts were recovered after the collapse and were reused for the current reconstruction.

Performed operation: an excavation was carried out to highlight the foundations of the original structure, represented by two stone stands. These have raised the two granite columns and then through an accurate measuring work made the wooden frame that was used as a template on which lay the bricks. Once the brick structure was completed could dismantle the frame and then plastered and refinish the surface obtained.

Fundación Pro-Marignano



Dr. Arch. Roberto Spreafico

Soprintendenza per i beni architettonici e paesaggistici-Milan
Arch. Federica Cavalleri

Project Details

Skills : Architectural

© Restauratore Eros Zanotti - Iscrizione albo artigiani n°410910 - Att.ne SOA OS2A Classifica 2° n°10856AL/23/00