Giacomo Quarenghi in Marquis
Giuseppe Terzi’s letters from Russia
via Torquato Tasso 4, Bergamo
Why would the son of one of Bergamo’s most important noble families find himself in the desolation of the Russian winter, during that same 1812 which saw the defeat of Napoleon and the downfall of his imperial ambitions? Ideals? Values? A lust for adventure? Boredom? Information on Marquis Giuseppe Terzi has come down to us through the letters of numerous individuals, through his correspondence with his family, and through official documents. His time in prison, illness, and the death of his brother are topics that travel continuously between Bergamo, Saint Petersburg, and Moscow. For many, and especially for the Terzi family, the main reference point was Giacomo Quarenghi, who had returned to Russia shortly before Napoleon’s attack. Multiple testimonies, however, speak also of many other characters variously linked to the Bergamo trading world, such as the grand local silk exporters, and the bankers. Many of these characters were connected to the Terzi and to the Bergamo architect. Among the family papers (kindly made available to the Athenaeum for Sciences, Literature, and Arts), which have suffered losses and accidents over time, singular importance is held by the letters written by the young Marquis during his stay in Saint Petersburg, also in virtue of the evocative human portrait they sketch of the famous architect.