Via Contrizio (Contrizio's Street)


Walking along Via Contrizio (Contrizio’s Street) you think back over the whole story of Bienno: you can distinguish indeed urban marks and architectural evidence related to each of the growth and transformation stages of the country from antiquity until the recent past.
VIA ROMANA CONTRIZIO (Contrizio’s Roman Street)
Via Contrizio (Contrizio’s Street), which penetrates nearly straight within the old town centre, was the fundamental key of the territorial system and the possession of Romans.
The Roman structure, laid down on a grid of parallel and perpendicular streets, is still partially evident on the right sector of the country in comparison with the street and it is recognizable along the Street itself.
On this side, in fact, it intersects orthogonally a series of secondary paths, while on the opposite side, however, the streets join with each other according to irregular and different angles.
At the end of the Street, at the corner with Vicolo Fr Diavolo (Fr Diavolo Alley), there is a stone fixed in cross-section, similar in shape and size with the one that has been preserved in Piazza Roma (Roma’s Square).
These are probably the two sections of a Roman milestone.
VIA CONTRIZIO MEDIEVAL (Contrizio’s Medieval Street)
Along Via Contrizio (Contrizio’s Street) there are preserved traits of medieval walls although they are not always visible, because are embedded within subsequent enlargements or hidden under layers of plaster.
You can also come across two towers: the Avanzini Tower that is almost intact and, at the end of the street, the Rizzieri Tower, of which only the basement has been preserved.
In Via Contrizio (Contrizio’s Street) appears a wealth heritage of entrances, which proves the evolution of the portal from the fourteenth to the nineteenth century (and further on).
Their variety and the combination of different types, witness the continued transformation of road fronts with the progressive connection of medieval structures, that were initially isolated and their integration in the fifth-sixteenth-century palaces.
On the contrary, the repertoire of windows is less articulated, because the upper floors have been generally renovated or made higher after the seven-eighteenth century: therefore they have the simple classical shape with moulded frame that has been asserted after those centuries.
The regular distribution of holes, located within the front in accordance with horizontal and vertical alignments, is also typical of the faades that follow the sixteenth century.
Along the Street also appear some old windows. This fifteenth-century portal appears almost at the end of Via Contrizio (Contrizio’s Street), on the right, next to a similar but smaller one.
With a round arch (semicircular), it is made up of large shaped ashlars and piers with squared blocks, which have the function of a capital. It is made up of stones driveway. On the outside, it has an irregular profile, while the internal edge has been worked with chamfer.
At the base of the arch have been incised the words “AN” and “CHUS”, while on the keystone (the central ashlar) you find the date (146 ... maybe 1467) and in the ashlar next to the monogram of Saint Bernard, which is frequent in Bienno. In the front of the fifteenth-century portal described just before, you find this portal that has typical seventeenth-century shapes.
Ashlars and piers are exactly shaped; on the key had been carved an emblem. The arch rests on two dadoes-capitals.
Engraved lines surround the fronts of all elements, with decorative sought effect. Within the walls that surround the street, there are a number of architectural fragments coming from demolition, that witness, on the one hand, the pre-existing building of the fifteenth century; on the other one, the building changes that have affected this area.
There are, in particular, three fragments of architrave with engravings and relief, which date back to the fifteenth century. This fragment, for example, has been decorated with a rosette and a cross emblem, and bears the inscription 1490/TIS. S. IMORTAL. M