The Chizzali – Bonfadini Palace
Colle Santa Lucia | Agordino Dolomites
Casa Chizzali – Bonfadini, commonly known as Cesa de Jan (“Jan’s House” in Ladin), is a 17th Century manor located on Piazza Santa Lucia in the Agordino Municipality of Colle Santa Lucia in the Dolomites, Province of Belluno, Veneto Region, Italy.
Cesa de Jan is probably the oldest existing building of the Municipality of Colle Santa Lucia; its construction goes back to 1612, as reported by the inscription still on the main entrance to the building. Historically, this manor is bound to the Tyrolean managers of the nearby Fursil Mines, one of the most important iron mines of the Dolomites UNESCO World Natural Heritage.
A historical possession of the Prince Bishop of Brixen, the Furil Mines have been for centuries the point of contention between Tyrol and Venice; the reason for the dispute was the particularly high quality of the iron ore extracted from the mines of the Monte Pore, that is the manganiferous siderite. This particular iron ore, due to the natural manganese content, was particularly suitable for forging weapons, thanks to the natural elasticity, strength and resistance to oxidation, making this iron similar to steel. The iron from the Fursil Mines, called “Iron of the Lamb” (a lamb was the emblem of the Price Bishop of Brixen), was particularly appreciated throughout Europe, and swords made in that very metal are still housed in several museums around the Continent.
Built by the Chizzali – Bonfadini family, Cesa de Jan was the administrative headquarters of the Fursil Mines and the start of the famous Via da la Vena, “Lode way” or “Vein route”, the most important of the several iron routes that crossed the Eastern Alps. The Via da la Vena, which nowadays is a pretty popular hiking route of the Fodom Valley, connected the Fursil Mines and Cesa de Jan with the Andraz Castle (where smelting furnaces worked the iron ore) and beyond to the Valparola Pass towards South Tyrol and Tyrol, where the iron was stocked to be sold.
Cesa de Jan is still decorated with the traditional Tyrolean iron gratings at the windows, made with the Iron of the Lamb, a proof of craftsmanship and care for details of the Tyrolean blacksmiths.
Casa Chizzali Bonfadini houses the Istitut Cultural Ladin “Cesa de Jan”, a cultural institution that cares for the preservation of the history of the Municipality of Colle Santa Lucia and its tourism promotion; the building also houses an interesting museum about the local Ladin traditions and costumes, and the group manages the guided visits to the nearby Fursil Mines, now restored and open to the tourists from all over the world.
Istitut Cultural Ladin Cesa de Jan
Phone +39 437 720609
Go to: Historical Attractions of the Agordino