Palazzo Ercole, also known as the Painted House
This palazzo, which stands out for its façade full of frescoes with mythological figures, stands just outside the ancient circle, leaning on the gate tower. Almost an irreverent contrast with Gasparo Narvesa’s Crucifixion fresco of which you can catch a glimpse on the wall of the brick house at the corner. This house bears witness to a practice that was widespread across Friuli at the time, i.e. painting frescoes on the outside of stately homes.
Palazzo Ercole dates back to the Renaissance period and its paintings can be divided into four sections. They depict the Stories of Hercules. From the top, The Abduction of Deianira, Chiron the Centaur, and a representative of the Spilimbergo lineage. The lower part features decorative geometric patterns, two scenes with children, and Hercules wrestling the lion. It is likely that these frescoes were ordered by a member of the Spilimbergo named Ercole (perhaps Ercole di Francesco in 1519), which would explain the choice of depicting episodes from life of Hercules. Deianira, depicted on Nessus the centaur’s back, was Hercules’ second wife. After their marriage, they decided to leave Calydon (Deianira’s hometown). Along the way, they came across a mythological being, who tried to abduct and rape the woman. But, despite being armed with bow and arrows (visible in the fresco), the centaur was killed by the valiant demigod. All the frescoes date back to the mid-16th century.