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The third palace built by the Riva family in Lugano (the previous ones were in Piazza Cioccaro and Via Pretorio) dates to the mid-18th Century and was built thanks to the initiative of Giovanni Battista (1695-1777), who demolished two buildings that belonged to the Camuzio family and the Santa Maria hospital. His son Giacomo Filippo was the first member of the Riva family to obtain the title of Marquis from Maximilian Joseph of Bavaria, and whose name is still remembered for this palace. The family owned the building intermittently until 1876 when, after a short period as the Bellevue Hotel, it passed on to the Banca della Svizzera Italiana (the Swiss Italian Bank). The architectural style is similar to the one of other elegant Italian palaces from the same period, with a wide internal marble staircase and reception rooms with coffered ceilings on the upper floor. The façades are a mixture of exposed bricks and limestone. In the hallway, on the ground floor, you can admire the Judgement of Paris by Giuseppe Antonio Felice Orelli (1706-1776 ca.), a painter from Locarno who was already active in Lugano at palazzo Riva in Via Pretorio, that was built a few years earlier. The upper floors’ frescoes depict mythological and moral subjects (Truth unveiled by Time, Apollo and the sun chariot, Allegory of the arts) and are very similar to the ones decorating the other two Riva palaces in Lugano.
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