Also called Basilica delle Valli (Basilica of the Valleys) it has stylistic and structural similarities with the early Christian basilicas.
This building - also called the Basilica delle Valli (Basilica of the Valleys), a term which underlines the respect for what it represented and still represents for the people of these places - completely stands out from the rural buildings of the local construction culture because of its unusual and original polygonal layout.
Architecturally speaking, this building may be placed in the neoclassical period, so-called because classic architectural shapes were used to provide solutions for completely different functional requirements.
The Barchessone Vecchio is a polygonal construction with a diameter of about 28 m. Two orders of pillars arranged in a crown around the central one support a radial wooden roof. The central pillar and the round of innermost columns support the top floor which formed the living space. A narrow spiral staircase winds up the inside of the central column. The roof support beams were constructed using poplar wood, extremely widely used in the country at the time, but with the passing of time they deteriorated quickly and were for the most part replaced. The floor, reconstructed like the original when the building was restored, is composed of bricks arranged in herringbone pattern and the same type of covering is also found on the exterior of the structure where the equestrian activities took place. The ground floor of Barchessone Vecchio i.e. the stable, was enhanced for horse feeding with enormous awning windows still maintained today. The terminal element of the Barchessone is represented by a brickwork lantern resting on the upper roof.
Intended for horse breeding, responding to the need to rationalise space and watch over the
In 1824 a solution for two important functions was hence provided by means of this type of architectural structure: the first is identified in a structure in Barchessone Vecchio intended for animal breeding, left in the semi-wild and sheltered in winter, responding to the need to rationalise space, watch over the animals and heat the living space on the top floor; the second represents a clear symbolic-formal function dictated by the aesthetic taste of the time, which necessarily had to characterise a place where an activity was carried out, such has horse breeding, in that period very profitable. The ideal place for painting exhibitions and shows, comprising a conference hall to seat 120 people
In November 1997 the restructuring work was started and after about a year and a half the Barchessone Vecchio was restored to its current splendour. The restoration, strongly desired by the institutions, was made possible by the Municipality of Mirandola in the Province of Modena, the Region of Emilia Romagna and the Foundation of the Cassa di Risparmio of Mirandola. After the reconstruction the ground floor of the Barchessone Vecchio was fitted out with a conference hall to seat 120 people and an exhibition hall, both of which can be used for meetings, conferences and different types of shows.