The suppression in 1809 of the Dominican order, by Napoleon Bonaparte to accommodate veterans of the French army, led to the destination of improper use and the degradation of the entire monumental structure of Santa Croce in Bosco Marengo; until that time had been within a government of rural areas and a surrounding territorial cohesion. A project of an ideal city to be built around the church and the convent, so persecuted by Pius V.
Since the end of the 20th century, large restoration works have returned the right value to this monumental complex and to tell the truth the setting up of a museum, regularly opened to the public, had already been planned, even if in a reduced capacity: the “Vasari Museum”.
In 2016 the interest of the FAI – Fondo per l’Ambiente Italiano – and the Census “Luoghi del Cuore” has allowed the collection of numerous signatures to bring Santa Croce in second place of the ranking and subsequently leading to the signing of the convention for the enhancement and fruition of the Monumental Complex.
“The goal of ”Luoghi del Cuore” is not to recover places but to sensitize people, to make citizens and institutions realize the value of cultural heritage for people and communities.” – specified the responsible FAI for the project “Luoghi del Cuore”, Federica Armiraglio.
But thanks to the financiers and institutions, today, it is possible to exhibit most of the works, already restored and placed in storage, in a new exhibition project that guides the visitor in a path of historical, artistic and cultural value.
And on July 7, 2022, the new “Museo di Santa Croce” is finally inaugurated.
“All this is part of the year of commemoration for the 450 year since the death of our beloved Pope Pius V – to whom the Municipality of Bosco Marengo manifests affection- recurrence and perennial remembrance for the works carried out by the pope in favor of the Boschese Community.” – says the Mayor of Bosco Marengo Gianfranco Gazzaniga.
And what greater sign of affection can there be if not to push this reality beyond all limits, making the museum the fulcrum of a cultural but at the same time economic and social value, not only for the local community but also for the entire provincial territory.
He wished to be buried here, in his native country, and for this reason he had it built of grandiose architectural proportions, provided with a papal tomb and enriched with great works of art by illustrious painters, some of the stature of Giorgio Vasari, connected to the artistic Roman and Florentine events of the sixteenth century.
‘’The complex must be considered and managed with an integrated approach to the territory” – says Lisa Accurti Superintendent of the Superintendence of Archaeology Fine Arts and Landscape for the Provinces of Alexandria, Asti and Cuneo – recreate in actualized form that “microcosm” – which in the past typically characterized the monastic and conventual structures- only apparently closed, but actually an open and permeable system’’.
So our wealth can be considered as the centre of a system, of a network of relationships conceived as Pius V had done with his “ideal city”.
Making us “patrons” of our heritage by expanding the boundaries and visions in a cultural “pilgrimage” in memory of a Pope who wanted, with his affection, to make great Bosco and our territory. Pope Pius V, who left Bosco to become Pope in Rome, did not return to his native land, as his will states, but as a spirit of “pontiff educator” is still present in Santa Croce.