Historical Overview

Located in the village of Padernello, in an environment shaped by bricks, stones, meadows, wooded slopes, marshes, hydraulic structures, natural and architectural elements of great value, it overlooks the castle, the first records of which date back to 1391 and attest to the presence of a tower-house surrounded by a double ring of water, the first nucleus of a subsequent rural lordship of the Martinengo family.

What is now called “Cascina Grande” appears in the policies of the 16th century as “Casamento ad uso del fittavolo con cortivo e portici”. Already mentioned in the 1641 census as comprising houses, stables, and barns, it is represented and highlighted in its quadrilateral form in the splendid map of the land surveyor Luca Serena, drawn in 1692. As stated in the caption, it is part of the “Cassine del Nobile Huomo signor Pietro Antonio Martinengo”. The spacious courtyard serving all agricultural activities is surrounded on two sides by buildings related to housing and rustic use, while another is enclosed by a wall, in the center of which an important portal stands. The rest borders to the west with the large vineyard well-ordered in rows and supported by maple trees, as the Brescian agronomist Agostino Gallo had theorized a century earlier, in one of the multiple indications on correct agricultural management contained in his treatise towards the ideal of rural life that united the city bourgeoisie with the feudal nobility in the interest of returning to the land.

Between the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century, there was a significant financial investment by the Martinengo counts that also involved the “Cascina Grande”. In fact, in the Napoleonic map of 1809, we find it completed and built on three sides. After the mid-century, the Salvadego family, heir to the Martinengos, began renovations of the castle and also took care of farms, courtyards, and buildings. In 1876, through some inspections in Padernello, the architect Antonio Tagliaferri, a professional present in the most significant urban construction sites in Brescia and the territory, was involved.

At a short distance, through the cultivated and refined collector Count Bernardo Salvadego, the Sienese painter Antonio Salvetti also arrived in the village, proposing a portion of the “Cascina Grande” with its imposing entrance embellished with neoclassical rustication in one of the three large watercolor drawings taken from life with extreme mastery in 1881, in addition to the castle. To the suggestion of the brilliant palette, he added that of the reflections of the sun that multiply the volumes in the water of the moat. The intertwined initials B/S that are still placed at the apex of the iron gate that leads into the extensive agricultural complex could hypothetically be attributed to the count.

After 1881 (in a date still to be ascertained), there was an ambitious and overt architectural homage to a new style called neo-Gothic, which involved some buildings in the village, including the seat of the municipal offices with attached schools, the public oven, and the “Cascina Grande.” The latter was remodeled and raised in some parts in new forms with suggestive ogival openings (doors and windows) and painted on the facade with a red color on which a fake brick pattern was executed. Details on the condition of the structure and its use emerge at the beginning of the 20th century. In fact, it is described as a vast Sunday and colonial building, with the main entrance from Via Castello, composed of several buildings for the use of the tenant.

Floriana Maffeis