The courtyard Beccarie developed over time, until it took the square shape during the 18th century.
During the First World War, it was used as an internment camp for prisoners of war like Slavs, Hungarians, Bulgarians and Ukrainians, in addition to the Austrians.
It is relevant that during the night the prisoners used to escape towards the town of Lugagnano in search of food and they found, thanks to the kindness of the inhabitants, dry bread and polenta, or they used to look for places to sleep in the heated environment, as the living conditions in the camp were very bad. This kind of pilgrimage ended before dawn when the fugitives returned to the camp: if they had been found outside the borders , they would have put to death.
The number of prisoners has been estimated at about a thousand, without counting the 65 Italian officers. In memory of that period, above the front door of the courtyard, there was the sentence “Security guards and prisoners” until recently.
The name of the courtyard seems to derive from “beccari“, which means “butchers“, from the work done by some families who lived there.
There were also activities related to agriculture and spinnery (breeding of silkworms), that was well-developed in Veneto until the first half of the 20th century. In the courtyard there was a dryer which was relatively large and could be used by the inhabitants of Lugagnano and those of the surroundings. The latter brought their cocoons of the silkworm, and they took them back after drying, but in return they had to pay a fee for the service.
Some fresco decorations are still visible in the attics of courtyard Beccarie. They are red-colored, and present rather rough floral patterns, although much intriguing.
These attics, however, until a few decades ago, were all communicating, along the whole perimeter of the large building complex having a square shape.
From Verona – San Massimo, at the beginning of the town of Lugagnano, in Via San Francesco, turn left into via Messedaglia. Immediately round the corner on the left you find an entrance arch that leads you into the courtyard Beccarie.