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0205 Danko Šourek, The Architectural History of the Illyrian-Hungarian College in Bologna

RIHA Journal 0205 | 25 February 2019

The Architectural History of the Illyrian-Hungarian College in Bologna

Danko Šourek


In 1556, a house in Bologna, in via Centotrecento, was bought by the members of the Illyrian-Hungarian College to serve as permanent seat of the institution founded in 1553. After a series of lesser interventions, this building was considerably enlarged and thoroughly remodelled from 1690 to 1701. The author of this project was Bolognese architect Giovanni Battista Torri, who based the design on the model of the famous Collegio di Spagna, built in the same university town more than three centuries earlier (1365-1367). This article is the first to investigate the architectural history of the Illyrian-Hungarian College by drawing on a large body of archival documents.

Illyrians and Hungarians in Bologna

[1] The Illyrian-Hungarian College (Collegium Hungaricum et Illyricum / Illyricum et Hungaricum) in Bologna persisted from 1553 to 1781 under the patronage of the Zagreb cathedral chapter.1 It was founded by Pavao Zondin (Paulus Zondinus), a canon of Zagreb and Esztergom cathedrals and honorary bishop of Risan (Risinum), and it was intended as a residence for Croatian and Hungarian students from the diocese of Zagreb and the historical region of Slavonia. Although initially an equal number of students from both nations, the Hungarian and the Croatian, was to benefit from this foundation, since the late 17th century the majority of students were Croats. The college edifice in via Centotrecento 4, built between 1690 and 1702, still exists today. After it was sold in 1782, it successively functioned as a nunnery and a prison, and eventually, from the 1820s onwards, it has been serving the Collegio Venturoli, an institution which to this day (as Fondazione Collegio Artistico Venturoli) provides accomodation for young Bolognese artists (Fig. 1).

1 Bologna, Collegio Venturoli, ex-Collegio Illirico-Ungarico, façade on via Centotrecento, 1690-1702, architect: Giovanni Battista Torri (photograph: author, 2018)

[2] The most comprehensive scholarly account of the college’s history is to be found in an unpublished manuscript by the Zagreb historian Kamilo Dočkal (1879-1963): Collegium Ungarico-Illyricum Bononiae 1553 fundatum.2 This, together with the introductory texts in the monograph Annali del Collegio Ungaro-Illirico di Bologna (1988),3 which also contains a transcription of the handwritten reports of the college’s rectors (Chronologia illustrissimi Collegii Illyrico-Hungarici Bononiae fundati), provide a general insight into the history of the college. The most significant part of the artistic heritage of the college, the wall painting in the refectory which was carried out by Bolognese painter Gioacchino Pizzoli in 1700, was analysed in a recent study by Daniel Premerl (2014).4 The edifice itself, however, was not thoroughly studied, and this article attempts to reconstruct its building history and to explain its specific form, that turns out to be firmly rooted in the Bolognese architectural tradition.

[3] From the 13th century onwards, Bologna was one of the most important Italian and European university towns. There existed over twenty colleges to accommodate students.5 Some of them were short-lived, whilst others such as the Collegio di San Clemente (Collegio di Spagna) and the Collegio Jacobs (Collegio dei Fiamminghi) still persist today. The map of Bologna by Gregorio Monari and Antonio Alessandro Scarselli from 1745 features eleven colleges, mostly located in the densely built-up centre of the city.6 The majority of Bologna’s colleges was established during the 16th and 17th centuries: There are thirteen foundations to be numbered from that period, among which the Illyrian-Hungarian College.7 A major purpose of their establishment was to foster the cultural and educational politics of the Post-Tridentine Church. Furthermore, considering the specific motives underlying the foundation of the Illyrian-Hungarian as well as the Flemish College (which was established in Bologna in 1650 by the goldsmith Johann Jacobs from Brussels who had settled in the town), Gian Paolo Brizzi emphasises that both, the founders and the students of these two colleges, came from bordering regions in direct contact with Protestantism respectively with the Muslim faith. Therefore, their goal was to form an elite class unfailingly faithful to the Church of Rome.8

[4] With the remarkable exception of the Spanish College (Collegio di San Clemente/ Collegio di Spagna), which Cardinal Gil Álvarez Carrillo de Albornozfounded in 1364 and put up in a purpose-built edifice,9 all the other colleges were located in already existing buildings (houses or palaces which the founders themselves donated, or which subsequently were purchased and adapted for the new purpose). Also the Illyrian-Hungarian College was established in an existing building. However, thanks to favourable circumstances during the late 17th century, the Zagreb cathedral chapter was able to undertake an extensive construction project (1690-1702) that eventually turned the relatively modest student residence into a spacious building of a characteristic typology. The extensive archival material of the Illyrian-Hungarian College which is stored in the Zagreb Archiepiscopal Archives,the published Chronologia from the Archives of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts in Zagreb,10 as well as some documents in the Archivio di Stato in Bologna provide numerous information about the history of the college’s building.

[5] The first two Hungarian-Illyrian alumni stayed for some time in a house rented from Senator Romeo Foscherari near the Church of St Dominic,11 when the founder of the college decided to provide his institution with a permanent seat of its own in 1556. The college chronicle relates that a house was bought that very year in via Centotrecento in the parish of St. Mary Magdalene, near the ruins of the former palace of the Bentivoglio family and the Porta della Mascarellacity gates (Fig. 2).

2 Lorenzo Sabbatini, Plan of Bologna, 1575, wall painting, Rome, Vatican palace, Sala di Bologna, detail with via Centotrecento (photograph: author, 2017)

The purchase agreement between the owner of the house, the Bolognese citizen and draper Lorenzo de Refrigeriis, and the first rector of the college, Stjepan Leporin (Stephanus Leporinus), was signed on 19th November 1556, with the price amounting to 1,950 lire ("libri").12 As Gian Paolo Brizzi pointed out, this part of the city was a bit distant from the university district, but nevertheless it already housed the Collegio Ferrero, and soon yet another college, the Ancarano, was to find its new seat in the vicinity.13

[6] Even though de Refrigeriis's house would be extended during the late 16th and early 17th century and eventually reconstructed between 1690 and 1702, the preserved purchase contract provides certain information about its original structure and appearance as well as its immediate surroundings: It was built of solid material and covered with roof tiles, and had paved floors as well as vaults. It had a balcony (which probably meant that it was a multi-storey building) and a courtyard and garden with its own well and drain which led to a channel at the end of the plot. It faced via Centotrecento, while its grounds stretched to the mentioned channel on the opposite side.14

[7] It seems that from the very beginning the newly bought house was considered too modest and it was expected to be enlarged. A letter, which the college’s first rector Leporin (1556-1558) sent to the Zagreb cathedral chapter, not only brings forward suggestions about the future of the newly established institution, but produces also arguments for the extension of the purchased house or, rather, for an additional purchase of the neighbouring houses.15 In 1558, the subsequent rector, Ivan Ksanto de Prato (Ioannes Xantus de Prato), had the building expanded for the accomodation of a larger number of students, adding three rooms upstairs on the garden side.16

[8] In 1569 the chronicle notes the beginning of even more extensive building work: "Coepta est fabrica domus Collegii".17 The term "fabrica" could imply a completely new building, but further documents which would throw additional light onto this endeavour are missing in the college’s archive, and it is not possible to conclude with any certainty the scope of this construction work.18 In any case, further interventions in the building are noted in 1570 and 1571, when a new kitchen, a stable and two more rooms were built.19

[9] At the end of the 16th and beginning of the 17th century several rectors of the college tried to enlarge the plot in via Centotrecento. In 1597 Petar Domitrović (Petrus Domittrovych) purchased – for only 400 libri – a portion of a neighbouring house belonging to the spouses Giulio Cesare and Giulia de Scarpallis (Scarfaglia), and located next to the Church of the Resurrection that once stood north of the college building.20 The contract however permitted De Scarpallis to buy up this share of the house within the next three years. It seems that the De Scarpallis family exercised this right – after staying in the house as tenants – only in the early 1660s, when a certain G. Scarfaglia payed 400 lire "in refrancationem domum".21 In 1614 rector Andrija Tudović (Andreas Tudovitius) reports that, in the meantime, one more house was bought, located between the college building and the De Scarpallis house.22 As in the former case, there are no additional sources regarding its further destiny.

Embellishments in the Seventeenth Century

[10] From the beginning of the 17th century the college chronicle notes the increasingly frequent remodelling both inside and on the façades of the college edifice. Rector Benedikt Vinković (Benedictus Vinkovych), who later became bishop of Pécs and then Zagreb, invested his own funds during his term (1606–1607) in order to restore the college's refectory, obliging alumnus Laurentius Ferenczffy to decorate it with wall paintings. In addition to this, Vinković ordered the refurbishment of a room, that is said to be situated above a heated room (hypocaustum) which belonged to the rector.23

[11] In 1607 Vinković’s successor, rector Pavao Jaguštić (Paulus Jagustych), noted his own merits in the improvement of the college building: He ordered a ruined wall to be rebuilt and the courtyard to be paved with new bricks. Likewise, both façades of the college building were painted and decorated with coats of arms and inscriptions. The well was decorated with a suitable biblical scene, The Meeting of Christ and the Samaritan Woman, accompanied by a Latin inscription: "Dum rotat astra polus, feriunt dum littoral venti, / Paulo Jagustich currite fontis aquae" (As long as the pole turns the stars, as long as winds strike the shore, may water run from Paul Jaguštić's fountain). Along with this, Jaguštić also ordered a bathroom which all members of the college could use and which was located beneath the rector’s heated room mentioned before. A new door for the granary and a new portal for the college were made, plus the twelve doors of the college rooms were renovated. Upon this occasion, the door panels of the latter were decorated with paintings. The deft rector also ordered one of the rooms to be arranged for the college’s future guests. He concludes his account with a statement about how everything was done for the Glory of God and in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Patroness of Hungary (Patrona Hungariae).24 Additional information about the decorations of the façades is provided by the college’s accounts of the time: Along with other payments for labour and materials, a payment of 7,10 lire for the coats of arms of Emperor Rudolph, the Zagreb bishop Šimun Bratulić and Croatian ban (viceroy) Toma Erdödy is also noted in the college accounts. In addition, 6 lire were paid for the coats of arms of the rectors Gašpar Vrbanović, Vinko Mišljenović, Benedikt Vinković and Pavao Jaguštić, painted on the wall of the college.25 Jaguštić is also credited for the reconstruction of the street façade of the college which in 1610 was decorated with a wall painting of the Blessed Virgin Mary Patroness of Hungary between the holy Hungarian kings Stephen and Ladislaus. The composition was accompanied by the following distich: "Patrona Ungariae patriae succere labenti / Atque Jagustitii dirige vota tui."26 An unnamed painter received a payment of 12 lire for this.27

[12] In 1610, enterprising rector Jaguštić also composed a comprehensive inventory of the possessions of the college which, amongst other things, provides us with an interesting insight into the specific functions of the individual rooms in the newly refurbished building.28 The rooms are listed in the inventory starting with the main hall dedicated to St Nicholas ("palatium divo Nicolao sacram"), an upper corridor, a room dedicated to St Emeric and a large granary ("granarium maius"). The following rooms are named after Illyrian (Croatian) and Hungarian saints (St Ladislaus, St Jerome, St Quirinus and St Martin). The room intended for the cook was dedicated to St Elizabeth of Hungary, and the one for guests ("cubiculum peregrinorum") to St Roch. The already mentioned rector’s heated room ("hypocaustum d[omi]ni rectori") was dedicated to St Stephen the king, whilst the most prestigious dedication to the Blessed Virgin Mary Patroness of Hungary was intended for the recently painted refectory. Then came the kitchen with a fireplace ("caminus"), a room for storing clothes ("guarderoba"), a basement, a bathroom ("domus lotionis") and lastly a library. From the inventory we also learn that the garden was completely surrounded by a pergola and that one portion of the pergola’s back wall was painted (on rainy days this wall painting was protected by four wooden boards).

3 Anno 1681. die 18. Novembris. Visitatio loci facta per deputatum ab archiepiscopo in causa cum d[omi]nis Dal Oglio. 26. ejusdem. Bina exemplaria delineationis aedificiorum Collegij et vicinorum facta per servitum in eadem causa, detail. Archivio di Stato di Bologna, Senato, Demaniale, Busta 22 / 2039, AE 12 (photograph: author, 2018)

[13] The only visual testimony known to date of the appearance of the Illyrian-Hungarian College before its thorough reconstruction at the end of the 17th century is connected to the former garden. It is a drawing of the rear wall of the garden that was made in 1681 to accompany documents in a dispute that the college was having with the Dell'Oglio family; the dispute was prompted by certain extensions that the members of this family were carrying out alongside the drainage channel on the boundary of the two properties.29 Along with the ground plan of the mentioned channel and the rear wall of the college (with passages on the far sides leading from the garden to lavatories above the channel) also the elevation of the rear wall of the garden is shown. In its centre a large arched surface protected by a gabled roof is delineated, which can be linked to the wall painting in the college's garden that is mentioned in the inventory of 1610 (Fig. 3).

The New Building by Giovanni Battista Torri

[14] It seems that with Jaguštić's interventions the college building was brought to a state that was considered satisfying throughout almost the whole 17th century. It was probably the new and favourable political, cultural and economic climate following from the military successes of the Christian army in the Great Turkish War (1683-1699) and the considerable territorial increment of the Zagreb bishopric that motivated the final and certainly the most significant enlargement and rebuilding of the Illyrian-Hungarian College that began in 1690. Preparing for this venture, the college considerably increased its possessions in via Centotrecento: As early as 1686 a small house was bought for 520 scudi from the Confraternity of the Holy Sacrament. According to the contract, the building was almost in ruins and its plot stretched from the street to the drainage channel on the opposite side. To the south it adjoined the college and to the north the house belonging to the De Scarpallis family.30 In 1689, a purchase contract with sisters Elena, Vespasiana and Alfonsa Scarfaglia was concluded regarding a rear section of the house that stood between the college plot (to the south) and the one belonging to the Confraternity of the Resurrection (to the north and towards the street). This was bought for 2,550 lire.31 Thus, before 1690, the College possessed at least three plots with houses on the west side of via Centotrecento. The fourth house – belonging to the aforementioned Confraternity of the Resurrection and situated along the street, south to the Church of the Resurrection – was purchased (for 2,500 lire) during the first year of the building campaign, in 1691.32 With this purchase, the College became a neighbour to the church that – from 1570 to 1792 – stood on the site of the present house in via Centotrecento 6.33

[15] On March 2nd 1690, rector Mihael Šimunić (Michael Simunich) laid the foundation stone of the new college building on its former site,34 and soon after, on March 30th, he signed a contract with the Bolognese architect Giovanni Battista Torri stipulating the terms of its reconstruction and enlargement.35 The agreement mentions the canons of the Zagreb cathedral chapter as the patrons of the college which was represented by the then rector Mihael Šimunić. It highlights how they decided to expand the college with the reconstruction of the adjoining houses, purchased precisely for that purpose. Besides the architect Giovanni Battista Torri, who had already planned the reconstruction project (disegno), the capi maestri are named, father and son Giovanni Battista and Giacomo (Antonio) Burzani. Furthermore, the contract states the prices of the individual works (the digging of foundations, the building of walls, the placing of coverings, the construction of foundation arches and vaults, wooden inserts and paving) marked in lire by pertica,36 solidi per cubic foot. The builders would also knock down the old walls and anything else that "must be destroyed", and at least two of them would constantly help at the construction site. They would be in charge of buying the materials (stone, wood and lime), and once the construction was finished they had to remove the scaffolding free of charge. The rector was obliged to provide the builders with wine of standard quality37 and to respect the fair prices until the end of the works. Along with Šimunić and Torri (who himself signed as a muratore), the agreement was signed by Giovanni Battista and Giacomo Antonio Burzani, and it was witnessed by Tarquinio Michelini and Orazio Girolamo Martelli plus Giovanni Battista Antonio Monti, who wrote the contract down (Fig. 4).

4 Contractus per Collegium cum architectis initus pro refectione et ampliatione Collegii, 1690, detail. Archives of the Archdiocese of Zagreb, Acta Collegii Bononiensis (photograph: author, 2017)

[16] Upon the completion of the bulk of the work, in 1700, two extensive expense sheets were compiled.38 The first is not precisely dated and generally omits the final measures as well as amounts of the prices, whilst in the other, composed on November 22nd, all the measures and sums are noted, with the final sum adding up to 12,850 lire and 5 solidi. Appended to the expense sheet is a short report by the Bolognese architect Giovanni Antonio Conti dated 4th December 1700, who, as a publicly appointed expert (perito publico), confirms the final total.39 Thereafter an additional, limited construction activity took place, that lasted, as it seems, from 4th December 1700 until 21st January 1702. It is documented by a separate expense sheet (with a final sum of 601 lire and 11 solidi) composed on 13th January 1702,40 and it is again certified by Giovanni Antonio Conti as the publicly appointed expert on 21st January 1702.41 Finally, in the college’s archives there is the statement of one more Bolognese expert, Giovanni Battista Piacentini, composed on 21st October 1702.42 This statement confirms the expenses for the latest works on the college, begun on 8th April 1702 and mainly concerning the execution of the garden design. The small extent of these works is also confirmed by the final cost of just 42 lire. However, it is important to point out that the statement expressly names Giacomo Antonio Burzani (Borzani), son of campomaestro Giovanni Battista, as the leading person of these works; in 1690, Giacomo Antonio had also co-signed the agreement relating to the reconstruction of the college’s building.

5 Bologna, Collegio Venturoli, ex-Collegio Illirico-Ungarico, wall painting commemorating the completion of the new college building, 1701 (photograph: author, 2018)

[17] Regardless of the minor works carried on in 1702, it seems that the new college building was considered perfected already in 1701. This year was in fact recorded in the dedicatory inscription within an illusionistic frescoed frame recently rediscovered on the west wall of the main staircase (Fig. 5). In its present state, the inscription is illegible and partly covered by two marble plaques that were superimposed at a later date, but it has luckily been noted down by the 18th-century Bolognese historian Lodovico Montefani Caprara.43 According to the aforementioned expense sheets as well as an quite elaborate report of rector Juraj Patačić (Georgius Patachich), those final works included the perfection of the main staircase as well as the new arrangement of the "antana", a turret-like structure on top of the main wing, on the axis of the main staircase. This "antana" was opened with four large, arched windows, and its interior was painted owing to funds provided by the former rector Nikola Jurinić (Nicolaus Jurinich) who visited the college in 1700. In addition, three old and small rooms near to the main staircase were merged (by breaking down their walls) into a new, ample guestroom.44 According to Patačić's description of its furnishing (e.g. portraits of Croatian ban Adam Batthyan and Zagreb bishop Stjepan Želiščević), it can be identified with the foresteria on the first floor ("foresteria superiori") that was mentioned in subsequent inventories (e.g. the one of 1711).45

[18] Although in the first part of the 1690 agreement some kind of architectural drawing ("disegno") is mentioned, unfortunately, it has not been preserved in the college’s archival material. Nevertheless, as in the case of the appearance of the old college building, a contemporary, although partial, visual trace can be found in Bologna’s State Archives:46 In 1691, in the first year of reconstruction, the college requested the city authorities of Bologna to grant it one foot of the city’s land along via Centotrecento so that the new front portico could line up with the neighbouring façades. The request was approved, and on the drawing attached to the document the schematic ground-plan of the front part of the college’s building is visible, fully comparable with the present-day portico which rests on six piers. Likewise, a portal in the central axis of the façade is marked, somewhat narrower than today’s, however without a smaller gate on the right side, which is obviously the product of later modifications (Fig. 6).

6 Archivio di Stato di Bologna, Senato, Filze, Memoriale all' Senato di Bologna/Collegio de Ungari, 1691, detail (photograph: author, 2018)

The described alignment was necessary because the new front portico was comprised of at least three former house-fronts (that of the old college and those of the houses that once belonged to the Confraternities of the Holy Sacrament and the Resurrection), and the diversity of the original structures can still be seen in the different vaulting of the ground-floor rooms and the basements (Fig. 7), as well as in the ceiling constructions of the first floor.

7 Bologna, Collegio Venturoli, ex-Collegio Illirico-Ungarico, basement (drawing: M. Vojtić, 2018)

Three distinct basement units stretching from the street line to the courtyard are most likely to be identified with three separate houses that once stood on this place. If this was the case, two barrel-vaulted spaces on the far south end once belonged to the original college building. The central barrel-vaulted room – exceeding the present portico front on the courtyard side and reaching the well with its south-west corner – belonged to the house of the Confraternity of the Holy Sacrament (purchased in 1686). Through a smaller groin-vaulted space on the west end, it is connected to the large, two-bay groin-vaulted room that once belonged to the house of the Confraternity of the Resurrection (purchased in 1691). The narrow, oddly vaulted space on its north side leads to the long basement stretching under the north college wing, that was probably built during the 1690-1701 campaign. Finally, the thicker walls of the present refectory and the adjoining room (the former kitchen), slightly shifting from the north perimetral wall-line of the present college, can – arguably – be connected to the former rear portion of the Scarfaglia house (purchased in 1689).

The Architectural Form of the New Illyrian-Hungarian College

[19] The Zagreb canon and then rector of the college Juraj Patačić was the first to describe the new building of the Illyrian-Hungarian College in the book Gloria Collegii Ungaro Illyrici Bononiae fundati in 1699. He states how this magnificent building was raised from its foundations in a square shape and that it provides accommodation for at least thirty students in single rooms. Thereafter he lists "museums" and basement vaults ("musea" and "hypogea"), an elegant chapel, and a library plus a turret which rises above the building and from which there is a view of the whole city.47 The Bolognese architect Giovanni Andrea Taruffi also briefly recalled the building in his book Antica fondazione della città di Bologna (1738), stating how it was designed and constructed by the "former architects Torri".48 In his posthumously published overview of Bolognese painting, sculpture and architecture, Carlo Cesare Malvasia (1616–1693) states how the seat of the Illyrian-Hungarian College was constructed by father and son Giovanni Battista and Giuseppe Antonio Torri, and was finished, in 1700, by Giuseppe Antonio Conti.49

[20] Although the contract indisputably points out only Giovanni Battista Torri as the architect responsible for the project (the name of his son Giuseppe Antonio does not appear neither in the contract nor in the relating documents) the three architects, father and son Torri and G. A. Conti, are equally mentioned in the later, quite scant, references to the college building. According to Angelo Raule, the harmonious design of the facades with a portico, great elliptical oculi and a characteristic and prominent cornice argues for a single architectural design.50

[21] The street façade of the building is characterised by the five wide arches of the ground floor portico which rest on massive rectangular piers with simple bases and capitals. Its bays have segmental sail vaults. The wide entrance door in the central axis of the façade is flanked by simple, rectangular window openings in the axes of the side bays. Their symmetrical placement is somewhat interrupted only by a smaller door in the last bay to the right, which leads into the area of the (subsequently furnished) chapel. The smooth wall surface above the portico is perforated with five larger, also rectangular window openings in the axes of the arches and with five oval oculi above them. The façade ends with a greatly emphasised, multi-profiled cornice with slight twists over two shallow pilasters which climb along the corners. Low bands of equal width, like simple archivolts, also border the arches of the portico.

[22] The central courtyard, in the shape of an elongated rectangle, is surrounded by four single-storey wings (whose peripheral walls extend trapezoidally towards the rear; Fig. 8, 9). The two longer side wings have porticoes with five segmentally arched arcades on each floor, whilst the porticoes of the main wing display a modified Palladian motif – the wider segmental opening is bordered by two narrower, rectangular ones. The ground floor porticoes were once frescoed with coats-of-arms and inscriptions commemorating college benefactors, rectors and alumni; some of these were recently rediscovered and restored.51

8 Bologna, Collegio Venturoli, ex-Collegio Illirico-Ungarico, courtyard (view from the east), 1690-1702, architect: Giovanni Battista Torri (photograph: author, 2018)

9 Bologna, Collegio Venturoli, ex-Collegio Illirico-Ungarico, courtyard (view from the west), 1690-1702, architect: Giovanni Battista Torri (photograph: author, 2018)

The courtyard is connected to the garden by a narrow and high barrel-vaulted corridor in the central axis of the rear wing (Fig. 8). All the wings are connected by a simple, concavely curved cornice into which tight oculi are cut in the axes of the side and rear wings.

[23] The floorplan of the main wing is set out with spacious units arranged around a central hallway on the ground floor. On its left, it is flanked by a staircase which goes up to a loggia on the first floor and two auxiliary rooms, and on its right, there are a chapel and a sacristy. (Another minor staircase is situated in the northern wing.) The first floor of the main wing bears a similar basic structure, with a spacious loggia above the ground-floor courtyard portico. The narrow and elongate side wings consist of a series of separate rooms which are accessed from long, vaulted corridors (Fig. 10).

10 Bologna, Collegio Venturoli, ex-Collegio Illirico-Ungarico, ground floor (drawing: M. Vojtić, 2018)

The location of the refectory is identified with certainty in a large, vaulted room with a wall painting by the Bolognese painter Gioacchino Pizzoli (1700) at the end of the right wing. The connected room next to it once accommodated a kitchen. On the floor above the refectory there is a large, vaulted hall with a painted wall clock, from which two, today walled-up windows once opened out towards the garden, while it is always lit by a large, arched window that looks out onto the neighbouring plot on the north side of the college. According to the above-mentioned inventory from 1716, this room can be identified with the "museo".52 The original layout of the other rooms remains somewhat questionable. It can be assumed that most of the smaller rooms with separate entrances were originally used as student accommodation, whilst the original chapel, dedicated to St Paul, was arguably located in the third ground-floor room of the left side wing. There, a ceiling painting with the coat of arms of rector Mihael Skrba is preserved to this day; this corresponds to the archival data according to which this rector, in 1752, ordered wall paintings to be carried out in the chapel.53 Next to the chapel, there was an infirmary, as suggested by the inventory of 1716.54

[24] The inventories of the 18th century also mention a basement, the rector’s rooms, a library, a museum ("museo") and at least three guestrooms: theRoman guestroom ("Foresteria media seu Romana"), the larger upper guestroom ("Foresteria maior superior"; as shown earlier, located on the first floor of the main wing, in the vicinity of the staircase), and the larger lower guestroom ("Foresteria maior inferior").55 The extensive inventory of the college's movable property composed in the year of its sale, 1782, lists the following areas in order: entrance; loggia; a rector's apartment (consisting of a hall, a corridor which leads to other rooms, the first room, the second room and rooms connected to it); rooms numbered "28, 29, 30, 31, 19"; the refectory; an upstairs rector's apartment (consisting of an entrance area, hall and a study from where two richly furnished rooms could be reached, as well as a bedroom and a small connected room); rooms numbered "11" to "17"; a room opposite the dean’s office; a room linked to it; a hall; a hospital; rooms numbered from "5" to "8"; a library; a chapel, a kitchen; a pantry; a "burrateria" and three basements (a basement facing the street, "de tinazzi" and a long basement).56 The inventory does not use some of the previously applied terms such as "museo", or "foresteria", and it seems that these rooms were here included in the more general description of the rector’s apartment. At this point, we can only assume that, in addition to the larger upper guestroom, other representative living spaces (such as the other two foresterias and rector's apartments) were also located in the main wing of the building facing the street.

[25] When looking for potential analogies of the architecture of the Illyrian-Hungarian College and other buildings that Giovanni Battista and Giuseppe Antonio Torri designed, it is worth considering the edifices of small, and even modest religious orders: the façade of the Bolognese Church of Santa Maria della Pietà (dei Mendicanti; via San Vitale 12), which was designed by Giovanni Battista in 1690's, resembles the austere design of the façade in via Centotrecento57 (Fig. 1 and 11).

11 Bologna, Santa Maria della Pietà, façade, 1690s, architect: Giovanni Battista Torri (photograph: author, 2017)

However, the characteristic feature of the courtyard façades of the college – the concavely curved cornice with tight oculi – finds its comparison on the side wing of the Palazzo Pepoli Nuovo, that is on the more modestly executed façade of the eminent senator’s palace that extends down via Clavature and that was finished by Giuseppe Antonio Torri in 1707 (Fig. 12).58

12 Bologna, Palazzo Pepoli Nuovo, façade towards via Clavature, 1707, architect: Giuseppe Antonio Torri (photograph: author, 2017)

[26] Perhaps the most informative description of the college building (and certainly valuable for the consideration of its typology) was composed, at the request of the college’s last rector, by the Bolognese architect Bernardo Gamberini in 1781. A year later, a copy of Gamberini’s text was included in a document drawn up upon the purchase of the college building by Francesco Varrini as the authorised representative of the Barefoot Carmelites of the Bolognese monastery of Saints Joseph and Teresa.59 Gamberini describes that the college’s rear (east) side, along the open channel, borders on the property of the Codronchi Argeli family, its north side on the Brotherhood of Christ’s Resurrection, and its south side on the property of the Church of St Petronius ("beni della Reverenda fabrica di San Petronio"). The expert continues by stating that the building has been erected from solid material, "in good symmetry", with the layout and the facilities corresponding to its purpose. However, as a kind of drawback, he emphasises its location in a "common street", the obvious insufficient maintenance and the problems with the drainage of the channel. He concludes that the building, although suitable for a college’s accommodation, would not be easily sold to a "noble buyer", given that it lacks the necessary "forma di abitazione", and he estimates its value at 20,000 lire, i.e. 4,000 Roman scudi.

[27] In Bologna, the Spanish College, built between 1365 and 1367, established the typus of collegiate building that, in the following centuries, would be adapted by a number of analogous institutions throughout Europe. However, the only example of its typological reception within Bologna is the building designed for the Illyrian-Hungarian College by Giovanni Battista Torri in 1690 (Fig. 13). When we compare the layout of the – more luxurious and much more distinct – Spanish College, designed by Matteo Giovannelli called Il Gattapone according to the directives of its founder Cardinal de Albornoz (Fig. 14), and that of the Illyrian-Hungarian College, we notice several significant similiarities.