The Tempio Voltiano is located along the Lungolago of Como. It is a neoclassical style temple dedicated to the inventor of the battery, Alessandro Volta (1745-1827). The Tempio was built to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the death of the great physicist. The architect was Federico Frigerio.
Tempio Voltiano Como
Address: Largo Marconi – 22100 Como. Phone: +39 031 574705. Opening times: Tuesdays to Thursdays from 10:00 till 18:00. Ticket price: 5 Euros. (Note that opening times and admission may be subject to change.)
History and description
Volta was a physicist and is widely known for his discovery of the electric battery, or voltaic cell (Voltaic Column). He became rector of the gymnasium and professor of physics at Como in 1774 and professor of physics at Pavia in 1779. The unit of voltage (volts) is named after him.
The lakeside museum was financed by the maecenas Francesco Somaini, who had acquired his wealth in the cotton industry. After he had finished construction of the Tempio, Somaini donated the building to the city of Como.
Most of the scientific instruments on display in the museum are originals that used to belong to Somaini. However, some of these had to be reconstructed after the originals had been destroyed in a fire during the 1899 International Electricity Exposition.
What to see
The main body of the mausoleum is topped by a hemispherical dome. The statues in the pronaos personify “Faith” and “Science”.
The ground floor is mostly dedicated to Volta’s work, the second floor loggia with his personal life and the honors bestowed on him thanks to his influential works and inventions.
The ground floor’s central hall is taken up by machines and other devices he used for his experiments. He studied not only physics and electronics, but also experimented with gases and their properties.
The second floor is decorated to more personal memorabilia, even if mostly connected to Volta’s work, such as the awards he received. There are letters and publications written by and about the scientist, as well as portraits.