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The building

The Tempio Voltiano (Volta’s Teple), inaugurated in July 1928, was conceived as a new venue that would host the originals and reconstructions of Alessandro Volta's scientific instruments, which the fire of 1899 had destroyed during the great Volta Exhibition set up in Como for the Centenary of the invention of the pile.

Creator, promoter and financier of the construction was the cotton entrepreneur Francesco Somaini (1855-1939) who, when the work was finished, donated the building to the city of Como.
The architect Federico Frigerio (1873-1959) was chosen as a designer, who, realizing the work in neoclassical style with explicit reference to the Pantheon, wanted the building to be worthy of the great scientist from Como not only for the high scientific value and documentary of the content, but also for its monumental appearance.

The Temple by the lakeshore consists of a circular hall of almost 12 meters in diameter, crowned by a central light dome.
The main floor of the building is raised about two and a half meters above ground level. This difference in height is overcome by means of two large symmetrical side stairways to the side of the entrance, which enriches the front of the Temple and extends over four Corinthian stone columns of Aurisina.

Inside, four corner pillars and eight marble columns hold the dome; the high Corinthian order, crowned by a rich entablature in whose frieze the dedicatory inscription stands out in gilded bronze letters, is broken about two-thirds of its height from the parapet fascia of the loggia.
In this band there are four panels in high relief stucco, by Pietro Clerici, representing episodes from the life of Alessandro Volta; among these reliefs, in pairs, there are sixteen rounds bearing the most significant dates of his life in golden letters.
The rich mosaic floor of the round hall and the smaller rooms is embellished with thirty castles of marble, onyx and alabaster, all different from each other and of the rarest qualities, coming from different parts of the world.

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