Palazzi de' Pizzini
The Piano Museum is housed in the exquisite Baroque mansions of Ala, where Mozart stayed.
The origins of the two Palazzi de' Pizzini mansions are closely related to the velvet and silk industry, and go back to about 1630, when the descendents of Odorico di Castel Pizzino, thanks to the family's thriving textile business, enjoyed a long flourishing spell of time that led to the erection of the two mansions: one as the official family residence and the other, on the opposite side of the street - via Santa Caterina - to serve as a luxury annex for the family's guests. Originally the two mansions were connected. In the meantime, the older one - known as the Upper Mansion - has been donated by the Pizzini family, the owners, to the local authority of Ala, and carefully refurbished. It currently houses exhibitions and concerts. On the first floor is the Piano Museum, which features several rare and antique instruments belonging to the collection of the pianist Temenuschka Vesselinova.
Numerous aristocrats, artists and monarchs have stayed in the mansions. W. A. Mozart stayed there twice during his travels to Italy. The large Music Room, which boasts exceptional acoustics, features a balustrade balcony running around the entire room, besides gilded mirrors, medallions, stuccowork, allegoric paintings and frescoes. Napoleon Bonaparte himself spent two nights in the lower mansion, on 3rd and 4th September 1796. Other important guests include Tsar Nicholas I of Russia, during his journey to Italy and Germany, Heinrich Heine (1828) and the Shah of Persia (1873).