A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2014, Monferrato is among the most evocative landscapes in Italy. Lying on the Piedmontese hills, between the provinces of Asti and Alessandria, characterized by vast vineyards producing excellent wines and by ancient villages and castles of historical and cultural importance, it is today a destination for wine and food tourism and naturalistic tourism. It was precisely here that the non-profit association Slow Food was founded, committed to acknowledging the proper value of food, in harmony with the surrounding environment.
Castles to visit in Monferrato
Besides its food and wine tradition, Monferrato offers a rich cluster of castles and centuries-old historic residences of unparalleled charm. Souvenirs of the Middle Ages, the castles of Monferrato are in no way inferior to the castles of the Loire, owing to their strong architectural, historical and cultural character.
Here is a list of the most characteristic castles in this wonderful region.
Among the oldest castles in Monferrato, Gabiano Castle, dating back to the VIII century, is located in a valley dominating the Po plain. It passed from the rule of the Montiglio family to that of the Gonzaga and Durazzo Pallavicini families, and is now owned by the Cattaneo Adorno Giustiniani marquises, as well as being the production site for Gabiano DOC wine. Open for ceremonies, guided tours and open-air cocktails, its gardens host a characteristic labyrinth, the work of the architect Cusani, who designed it in the 1930s.
Check out the Gabiano Castle website. (http://castellodigabiano.com/it/luxury-suite/)
Besieged by French troops, burned and sacked several times, Camino Castle remains one of the most beautiful castles in Monferrato. Excellently preserved, its restoration was carried out according to Viollet le Duc’s method and completed in the XIXth century. The castle’s crenellated towers soar into the sky, while the windows of the B&B that now houses it offer an unforgettable view over the Po river valley to the circle of the Alps.
An ancient stronghold dating back to the XIII century, the Uviglie Castle, located near Rosignano Monferrato in the province of Alessandria, was home to many noble dynasties of Piedmont. Surrounded by an English-style planted park, the castle houses the chapel of Sant’Eusebio, the crypt of the Pico Gonzaga counts and the splendid cellars dating back to 1491. Currently for sale, the Castle and its centuries-old park are subject to the protection of artistic and landscape heritage due to their historical and architectural significance.
Check out the Uviglie Castle website. (http://www.castellodiuviglie.com/)
Nowadays one of the most renowned locations for ceremonies and events, the origins of Lajone Castle date back to 1624. Handed down through the centuries from one noble family to another, today the owners jealously guard its luxurious splendour, surrounded by the scents and colours of an immense garden. From the windows of the brick stronghold you can enjoy spectacular views of the verdant hills of Alto Monferrato.
Still occupied by the heirs of the family who built it, Sannazzaro Castle, initially a defensive stronghold, was converted into a country residence in the XVIII century. A fascinating and luxurious residence, the Castle has been partially renovated in neo-Gothic style, can now be visited and often hosts shows and exhibitions. Particularly interesting are the church of San Giacomo with its 16th-century frescoes and the ballroom: legend has it that the painter Grosso, who met his end in this very room, still haunts the castle.
Check out the Sannazzaro Giarole Castle website. (https://www.castellosannazzaro.it/)