Once through the gateway defended by statues of Caesar and Alexander – names reminding us of Cesare Alessandri who commissioned them – and having passed under the three arches of the portico, and slipped past the glaring gargoyles on the keystone, and climbed the staircase that leads to the reception rooms of the Foresteria Alessandri (the guest lodge), you sense a strange atmosphere. The light, the air, the fragrances are no longer those of our day but are those of the chocolate and coffee that quenched the thirst of players in the 18th century who were parched through nervous tension and flowing adrenaline. In the interior of Barchessa Alessandri, you can admire a cycle of frescoes considered by specialists as one of the keys to the luminous and airy paintings of the mid-18th century. Giannantonio Pellegrini was the maestro who painted most of the subjects between 1701 and 1708, choosing a light colouring and a flowing brush-stroke. His merit was to pave the way for Tiepolo’s paintings. In the central salon, subjects depicting Ovid’s Metamorphoses surround the visitor. Apollo pursues Daphne, the Centaur carries off Deianira, Venus weeps on Adonis’ inert body – to mention but few of these evocations of Arcadia. Alongside the door that gives access to the gaming room, you may note a splendid and quite obviously painted glass cupboard filled with coffeepots, coffee cups, small bottles and so on, showing that in the Alessandri home today – as in the past – hospitality is a rule. The splendid quadratura paintings by Raphael and Marco Ricci complete the setting.