TRAMELLO, Alessio
(b. ca. 1455, Borgonovo Val Tidone, d. ca. 1528, Piacenza)

Biography

Italian architect. He may have trained under Giovanni di Domenico Battaggio, whose style was derived from Donato Bramante; Tramello's own monumental works belong to the same school. Two of his most impressive and original buildings are the Benedictine church of San Sisto (1499-1511) and the Olivetan monastery of San Sepolcro (1513-34), both in Piacenza and both erected by Tramello to his own designs.

The Olivetan monastery of San Sepolcro has three features of particular interest: a three-aisled library, a secret passage (a covered walk parallel to the loggias of the cloisters) and its entrance (known as the 'House of the Commendatory Abbot'), which has an incomplete façade characterized by enormous lozenges and circles. The church of San Sepolcro was built by Tramello for the first time in 1498 together with the monastery but was subsequently modified following the 'neo-Byzantine' scheme of San Salvador at Venice and construction began in 1513. A design by Tramello for the church of San Sepolcro at Piacenza is kept in the parish archive of the Olivetan monastery of San Viottore al Corpo in Milan.

Between 1502 and 1507 Tramello built the smaller court of Palazzo Landi in Piacenza and during the same period constructed the double loggia in the courtyard of the Pallavicino palace in the city of Cortemaggiore (1479). For the Olivetans he planned and built the church and monastery of the Annunziata (begun 1517; destroyed) at Villanova near Lodi, Milan. It is possible that he designed unrealized projects for the Olivetans for the church and monastery of San Vittore al Corpo in Milan. For the Benedictines of Reggio nell'Emilia he produced designs for the church of SS Pietro and Prospero, which were also never commissioned. These combined the schemes of San Sisto and San Sepolcro. The cappella del Salvatore in the Benedictine convent of Santa Maria Teodote in Pavia, seems to take up once again the Tramellian tempietti in the head of the first transept of San Sisto at Piacenza.

In 1520-23 he erected the church of San Benedetto (or San Marco) in Piacenza, which in 1547 was incorporated in the pentagonal fortress (destroyed) built for Pier Luigi Farnese, 1st Duke of Parma. It is likely that Tramello also built the church of San Benedetto (from 1527; destroyed) in Crema, near Cremona, possibly to a design by Paolo Sacca (d. 1537).

Tramello's last surviving work, which he both designed and supervised, is the civic church of Piacenza, Santa Maria di Campagna (1522-26). The plan, in the form of a Greek cross, is developed from the scheme he used at San Sepolcro.

One of the finest provincial architects of the Renaissance in Italy, Tramello was made syndic of the Guild of Builders of Piacenza (1508) and in 1527 received a special tribute from the city to which he had contributed so many palazzi and churches.