The Manfredi, lords of Faenza, influenced the city’s artistic development from the beginning of the fourteenth century, and its fate for about two hundred years. In the 1400s Astorgio II and Galeotto Manfredi introduced Faenza to Renaissance innovations.
About a century ago the purchase of a Manfredi-period ceiling and the transfer of a sandstone fireplace from Palazzo Manfredi (now the town hall) offered the opportunity of setting up a room that now hosts prestigious works of art. The early fifteenth-century portable ivory altar by the Embriachi workshop in Venice – renowned throughout Europe – comes from the Capuchin Convent of Faenza.
The two wedding chests were a gift from Galeotto Manfredi (who was about to marry Francesca Bentivoglio) in 1480, to his former mistress Cassandra Pavoni who became a nun.
Paintings from that period by the Master of the Bertoni Altarpiece and Biagio d’Antonio, and the medal of Galeotti Manfredi – a masterpiece by Sperandio Savelli of Mantua – prove that Faenza welcomed artists from the greatest Renaissance cities.
The marble bust of the Young Saint John in the middle of the room is attributed to Benedetto da Maiano. Originally, it graced the study of Fra Sabba da Castiglione, humanist, writer and “Commendatore” of the Order of Malta in Faenza.