A list of castles in Cuneo Valleys, such as the Castle of the Marquis of Saluzzo, or Castle of the Princes of Acaja Fossano or Castello della Manta or even Vinadio Fort.
ALTO - Castello dei Conti Cepollini di Alto e Caprauna
Built during the 14th century - probably by the Cepollini Counts - this castle-fortress is located behind the town of Alto. Sacked and partially destroyed during the French invasion of 1796, it was readapted around the end of the 19th century with the highest parts of the two large towers demolished and the complex covered with a pitched roof. Inside, on the ground floor, there is a vast space once used as a court with a large and imposing staircase on one side which leads to the piano nobile.§
Address: Via del Castello, 15 - Phone number: +39.0174.391827
BAGNOLO PIEMONTE - Castello Malingri di Bagnolo
Located in the lovely natural setting of a beautiful landscape, the feudal complex of Malingri is worth a visit in the spring when the park’s splendid array of azaleas and rhododendrons are in full bloom. For centuries the property of a noble Savoyard family, the complex maintains its medieval allure intact and includes, besides the castle-fortress, the palazzo and the park. The manor on the hill above the property dates back to the year 1000 and is an austere stone structure with a high lateral tower and three orders of walls to protect it. Above the main entrance, a fresco depicts a woman, who probably recalls and symbolizes a marriage or alliance between the House of Savoy and the House of Acaja.
The palazzo, on the other hand, built farther down, has a beautiful 18th century façade embellished with arches and staircases and faces a square courtyard surrounded by ancient rural buildings still in use today. In the center of the courtyard is the bell tower with its sundial and stone pendulum-clock, the remains of the hamlet’s ancient church. A small door opens from the courtyard into the magnificent park that extends for almost two hectares filled with majestic trees and flowering shrubs. The garden dates back to the beginning of the 19th century and, therefore, follows the Romantic standards of the time with shady walkways that wind through woods, fields and fountains.
Address: Via palazzo, 23 Bagnolo Piemonte - Phone number: +39.0175.391394
BUSCA - Castello di Roccolo
Not too far from Busca, on a small hill, the castle of Roccolo rises up, surrounded by its splendid park. It was built in 1831 by the Marquis Roberto Tapparelli d’Azeglio, the brother of the more famous Massimo, who wanted to personally oversee the project without relying on the advice of professional architects. The castle, which owes its name to the “roccoli”, that would be the nets used to trap birds, was built to be a lovely vacation spot during the hottest months of the year. Sensitive to the fashion of the time, Roberto D’Azeglio was inspired by the Neo-Gothic and Romanesque styles and harmoniously blended them in Moresque arches, Ghibelline ornamentation, rose windows, and floral decorations. The great park which surrounds the castle, unique in its kind, spreads out for 500,000 square meters, bringing together the garden’s two aesthetic conceptions: the more Classic conception with descending terraces on the main side and a more Romantic conception where nature is left free to express itself in lakes, small falls, and scenic walkways. Recently, the falls and the monumental greenhouse, which oftentimes hosts flower and plant exhibits, were restored.
Address: Busca (CN) - Phone number: +39.0171.618260
CASTELLAR - Castello dei Marchesi di Saluzzo
Recently restructured and given a new life as a cultural and exhibition centre, this unique structure has towered over Saluzzo since far off 1270 when the Marquis Tommaso I of Saluzzo had it built as a fortress. Tommaso III enlarged it by adding a sizable square tower, but it was only in 1492, after major upgrading, that it became a noble home. In order to welcome his young French bride, the Marquis Ludovico II had new apartments, large state rooms, a garden, and a circular tower built. The structure followed the fortune of the marquises and, with their decline, was left to such decay that between 1825 and 1992 it was used as a prison. Recently, a careful restoration has given this very worthy structure, which is part of the area’s history, back to the community.
Address: via Cambiano - Phone number: +39.0175.76121
COSTIGLIOLE SALUZZO - Palazzo dei Conti Giriodi di Monastero
A splendid Baroque structure which was built following the design of the architect Bernardo Antonio Vittone, beginning in 1740. One enters through a majestic main door into a grand atrium where a monumental staircase leads to the piano nobile decorated with beautiful 19th century frescos, the work of Luigi Vacca, set designer and painter for the court of King Carlo Felice.
Address: Via Vittorio Veneto, 59 - Phone number: +39.0175.230121
COSTIGLIOLE SALUZZO - Palazzo Sarriod de La Tour
While going along the lower part of the ancient hamlet of Costigliole, one cannot help but be struck by Palazzo Sarriod de La Tour, surrounded by medieval walls and characterized by a crenellated tower. Acquired by Count Tommaso Alberto Saluzzo in 1734 along with the entire hamlet, the palazzo was enlarged and, over the years, restored several times. Today, it is the property of the community which, after having overseen the final restoration, uses it as an exhibition space for shows and reviews.
Address: Via Vittorio Veneto, 103 - Phone number: +39.0171.618260
CUNEO - Villa Oldofredi Tadini
Inserted within a complex of enclosed-court farms built in different centuries, the villa overlooks a park of rich botanical interest. The building was erected between the 14th and the 15th centuries, originally as an observation tower for the defence of Cuneo. The ‘Colombaro San Michele’, owned at the end of the 16th century by the Conti Mocchia di San Michele, later became a working farm and a holiday home. It was frequently enlarged and altered, and one of these modifications included the creation of a chapel in 1764. In the first half of the 19th century, count Luigi Mocchia – who in 1830 married Countess Maria Oldofredi Tadini, from an old aristocratic Lombard family – restored the villa and transformed it into a permanent residence, giving it its current appearance. The interventions carried out at this time are of particular interest: on the ground floor, these include the Pompie-style decoration of the vaulted ceiling in one of the rooms, and the coffered ceiling with monochrome rosettes in another neighbouring room.
Address: Via Oldofredi Tadini, 21 - Phone number: +39.0171.611489
CUNEO - Villa Tornaforte
Villa Tornaforte is located not far from Cuneo, in the outlying hamlet of Madonna dell’Olmo. Originally an Augustinian convent; it went to Count Bruno di Tornaforte after the French occupation and expropriation of the church’s assets, who turned it into a vacation spot. The property is surrounded by a large English-style park filled with magnificent prized plants.
Address: Via Valle Po - Phone number: +39.0171.412664
DEMONTE - Palazzo Borelli
There are still fresco paintings of value and decorated wooden ceilings inside the building that is hosting an exhibit dedicated to Lalla Romano, the writer born in Demonte. The building was constructed by request of Viscount Gaspare Bolleris in the 17th century and underwent several modifications when it was purchased by Giacinto Borelli, a prominent magistrate and political man in the Kingdom of Sardinia. There are still fresco paintings of value and decorated wooden ceilings inside the building as well as its well-preserved Baroque façade. The residence is connected (by way of the “Galleria di Carlo Alberto” tunnel) to an adjacent park, a successful example of a terraced 19th -century garden with fountains, grottoes and a greenhouse. Palazzo Borelli hosts the exhibit dedicated to Lalla Romano, the writer born in Demonte.
Address: Via Martiri e Caduti della Libertà - Phone number: +39.0171.618260
FOSSANO - Castello dei Principi Acaja
The castle’s history is closely linked to that of the city of Fossano. In 1324, Filippo Savoy, Prince of Acaja, ordered that a castle be built in brick with a square layout and with four corner towers. An interesting fact: the towers, which are also square, are placed on diagonal axes and two of them have little towers which have semi-cylindrical staircases along the inside edges. Around the end of the 15th century, Carlo I of Savoy made a series of important modifications that transformed the castle into a noble residency with halls, loggias, and porticos. Under the reign of Carlo Emanuele I of Savoy, between 1580 and 1630, the castle went through a series of events. In 1536, after signing the “Treaty of Fossano” with France, it was turned into a prison and then turned into a military barrack. Well restored between 1956 and 1963 by Turins’s Sovrintendenza ai Monumenti (Turin Monument Management), it has housed the Biblioteca Civica e L’Archivo Storico Comunale (City Library and Community Historical Archives) since 1985; it has also been the setting of various city events such as “La Giostra dell’Oca” (an event in period costumes in which knights, while riding on horseback, attempt to cut off the head of a goose), which is held during the next-to-last weekend of June.
Address: Piazza Castello - Phone number: +39.0172.61976
GARESSIO - Castello Reale di Casotto
Tel: 0174-351131 - 803145
The old chartreuse, built in the 12th century in the high part of the Tanaro valley, in an isolated location perfectly suited to prayer and meditation, was composed of two parts (the superior part, including the church and the guest rooms, and the inferior part, including outbuildings and barns); following a series of fires and restoration works, the church was finally transformed thanks to architect Bernardo Vittone, who designed the grand dome and the façade in green stone. The Napoleonic suppression of religious orders caused the dismantling of the ecclesiastical buildings, then acquired by King Carlo Alberto in 1837, with the aim of turning it into his summer residence and hunting resort. The work of architect Carlo Sada on the Carthusian church, destined to become a royal chapel, and redesigned with a symmetrical floor plan, erased all remaining traces of the Victorian plan. Used as a hunting reserve especially by Vittorio Emanuele II, Valcasotto castle contrasts the original sumptuousness of its monumental exteriors and of the church with the simplicity and rigour of the interiors, furnished in an understated way and almost in a bourgeois taste, highlighting the private use of the apartments. The building, which is currently being restored, is part of a touristic network connecting the Pamparato and Mondovì valleys to the spas of Lurisia and Vinadio.
LAGNASCO - Castello Tapparelli d'Azeglio
Via Castelli, 2
Tel: +39.0175 72101
Immersed in the green of Saluzzo´s plains, is the architectural complex that is Lagnasco´s Tapparelli D´Azeglio Castle (Castello Tapparelli D´Azeglio). Built around a defensive fort, it was then reworked as requested by the Marquis of Saluzzo, Manfredo IV, and then again according to the wishes of Benedetto I Tapparelli in the 1600´s. It was, in fact, the latter who called in the best artists of the day. Among this distinguished group, there are: Cesare Arbasia and Giacomo Rossignolo, who found inspiration in the splendour of classical myths to decorate the "Hall of Justice", and Pietro Dolce and the workers from this studio, who were inspired by the grotesques from Norse tradition. The work and the style of these artists built a bridge between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.
MANTA - Castello della Manta
Purchased in the 12th century by the Marquis’ of Saluzzo, the Manta Castle (Castello della Manta) is a fortified structure, which only in the 15th century was transformed into a splendid court, where French was spoken and Paris fashion was in use, thanks to an intervention by Valerano of Saluzzo - a cultivated and refined gentleman. It is, in fact, during this period that Manta’s interior was adorned with the frescoes unanimously considered among the most important pictorial documents of the Late Gothic Period in Piedmont. Among these, in the “Sala Baronale”, the nine figures from “Heroes” stand out, as do those from “Heroines”, and the fresco painting that depicts the “Fountain of Youth” attributed to an unknown student of Giacomo Jaquerio, known as the Maestro of Manta. Since 1989, the castle has been the property of Fai, which oversaw the castle’s restoration and which organizes nationally important cultural events there.
MOMBASIGLIO - Castello di Mombasiglio
Piazza Vittorio Veneto, 1
Tel: 0174.780268 fax. 0174.782935
The historical hamlet of Mombasiglio is dominated by an ancient castle, the construction of which dates back to the year 1000. The four-storey castle is surrounded by a park where one can admire a splendid 360 degree view over the valleys. On the castle’s ground floor, several rooms have recently been marked for restoration, while on the first floor is the Napoleonic Museum with mementos and prints from the drawings and watercolors commissioned by Napoleon himself in 1802 from the landscape artist, Giuseppe Pietro Bageti, to commemorate the battles fought on Italian soil during the Italian Campaign.
MONASTEROLO DI SAVIGLIANO - Castello dei Solaro
via Vitale, 4
Tel: +39.0172-99365 – fax +39.0172.922914
Requested by Tommaso I of Saluzzo, the primitive fortress of Monasterolo di Savigliano dates back to 1241. The conquests and the various times that the local stronghold changed hands correspond to the reconstruction and enlargement of the historical manor. During the war between Saluzzo and Acaja, which the latter won, the castle was given to Martino Cagna di Aglie as a fee. But, it is Aimone di Savoy who handed it over for thirteen thousand gold florins to Martino Solaro from Asti who, for his part, sold it in 1604 to the Solaro di Moretta family who took on the title of Counts of Monasterolo. The castle’s structure, rather massive, is softened by the main tower, by the small towers, and by the external decorations. Today, the building is the seat of the city’s offices.
MONDOVI’ - Torre dei Bressani
Giardini del Belvedere - Piazza
Tel: 0174.40389 (ufficio turistico di Mondovì)
The Torre del Belvedere, is a 14th century Gothic structure that stands out on the hill in the Piazza neighborhood with its unmistakable outline and offers a breathtaking view over the mountains. The Torre (Tower) is all that remain of the ancient Chiesa (Church) di Sant’Andrea and the walk up through its interior gives visitors the opportunity to see, through all the gears, the original, and still perfectly functioning, single hand clock created by the Jemina Brothers back in 1859, as well as the other period clocks recently placed inside the tower. Along with the Giardini del Belvedere (Lookout Tower Gardens) and the Palazzo di Giustizia (Palace of Justice), the Torre makes up the Parco del Tempo (Park of Time), a fascinating and popular tour that leads visitors on a discovery of the mechanisms of time measurement. In particular, there are two panels on the Torre Civica’s exterior walls which illustrate the way sundials function and offer a tour among the ancient sundials in the city’s historic center.
RACCONIGI - Castello Reale
Via Morosini, 3
Tel: 0172-84005 Fax.: +39. 0172-811531
Extant mid-Seventeenth-Century documents bear witness to the transformation of Racconigi’s Medieval fortress into a royal residence, on order of the Princes of Carignano (a minor branch of the Savoy). The façade facing the park is attributed to architect Guarino Guarini (1670-1681), with its grand staircase and pavilions; so is the design of a two-tier drawing room, supposed to receive light from above, designed but never built. In 1755, Giovanni Battista Borra was entrusted with the renovation of the classical interiors and with the construction of the other façade, facing the village. Borra here exploited the knowledge and expertise he had acquired during his archaeological field trips. From 1834 onwards, Ernest Melano designed a further extension in the form of two wings completing the entrance; the extension, which also saw the participation of Pelagio Palagi for the interior designing, was made necessary by the fact that the residence had to become a ‘royal holiday home’ following the accession to the throne of Carlo Alberto of Savoia-Carignano. The visit to the castle enables visitors to sample both the official, solemn aspect connected to courtly life, and the more intimate and familiar aspect, connected to the continuous use of the rooms, which were used up until the 1940s.
The residence is completed by a large English-style park, which is the result of the long work accomplished, in the mid-Nineteenth century, by the landscape designer Xavier Kürten; in the north part of the park there is a large greenhouse and the ‘Margaria’ complex, both important architectural examples of the Gothic Revival.
RACCONIGI - Villa Berroni
A walk through a long avenue of very old plane trees leads to the Villa, a delicious building in the lighter edition of baroque called Rococò, surrounded by neo-gothic farmsteads, in the middle of an old park, designed by Pregliasco.
It is a building of French taste, but has also some typically Piedmontese traits, with its Big Hall in the middle and the rooms and their furniture. It is the seat of the Countess Alessandra Castelbarco Visconti and her family. The visit is amusing: it´s like stepping back in time, almost as though the old owners had just left for a walk, leaving their things in the rooms, the table laid for a formal dinner, the bedrooms with last century´s clothes and all kind of little things in becoming disarray. Astonishing the great Hunting Hall rising over two floors, designed by Borra and plaster work made by Swiss artists, the Formal rooms, dining room, the Gallery, the Countess´ Bedroom and of King Carlo Alberto Bedroom.
ROCCA DE’ BALDI - Castello di Rocca de Baldi
Piazza Pio VII
The Castello di Rocca de’Baldi was built at the end of the 12th century to offer protection and shelter to the residents of the area and to protect them from possible Saracen raids. Because of the town’s strategic position, the castle suffered attacks and sieges until finally, in 1543, Spanish troops burned it and sacked it, sparing only the tower. During the 17th century, it was restored and enlarged with the addition of a staircase and various rooms. The Marquis Gaspare Filippo di Morozzo in 1710 had a new wing built, today easily recognizable in that it is painted pink, following the design of the architect Francesco Gallo. The castle, now the property of the community, houses a singular ex-voto collection as well as the Museo Etnografico Provinciale.
SAVIGLIANO - Palazzo Muratori-Cravetta
Via Jerusalem, 4
Tel: +39 0172-31162 – 0172.717185
Palazzo Muratori Cravetta was created by Giovanni Francesco I Cravetta, first President of the ducal Senate, who unified three distinct noble homes, which bordered one another, into a single structure. The palazzo has been the setting for many eventful episodes: in the ancient annals, one reads that in 1536 it welcomed Emperor Charles I, in 1560 Emmanuel Philibert of Savoy and his consort Marguerite de Valois, and in 1585 Charles Emmanuel I and Catherine of Austria during their honeymoon. The palazzo’s creation can be attributed to Ercole Negri di Sanfront who succeeded in his attempt to bring various medieval structures together to create a harmonic blend of Classic and Renaissance styles. The Salone Monumentale is characterized by a splendid lacunar ceiling with 188 coffer paintings; the cortile d’onore (courtyard of honor) is an interesting example of late Piemonte Renaissance architecture where various arts merge to create an enormous visual impact.
SAVIGLIANO - Palazzo Taffini d'Acceglio
Via Sant’Andrea, 53
Tel: +39 0172-31162 – 0172.717185
Built around the 1620’s, it is a beautiful Baroque-style structure designed by the architect Ercole Negri di Sanfront commissioned by Count Giusto Amedeo Taffini, governor of the city and of the province. At the end of the 1800’s, the Taffini family died off and the building became the property of the Regio Istituto delle Rosine (Royal Institute of the Rosine) which turned it into a school for girls in need. In 1976, it was acquired by the Cassa di Risparmio (Savings Bank) di Savigliano, which established its main seat there. The building’s structure is rather singular: the exterior is severe and the interior has rounded arches supported by slender columns facing a courtyard. The main rooms are magnificently decorated and the Aula Regia (Royal Hall) is enhanced by a fresco cycle that depicts the military feats of Vittorio Amedeo I.
VINADIO - Forte di Vinadio
Built by King Carl Alberto, who ordered its construction in 1834, the Forte (Fortress) di Vinadio is one of the most important examples of the military architecture of the Alps. Construction lasted for more than ten years and involved more than 4,000 workers. The three-storey fort is more than 1,200 meters long with about 10 kilometres of interior passageways. During the Second World War, it was often bombed by Allied Forces and its walls carry the marks of this today. A recent major restoration now gives visitors a very interesting multimedia tour inside the fort and along the communication trenches.