Historic 12th Century Medieval Montechino Castle For Sale in Piacenza Northern Italy
a majestic property 22 miles from Piacenza, 48 miles from Parma, 65 miles from Milan
 
Montechino Castle listed in Wikipedia
Montechino Castle on
 
 
     
     
 

Italian Castle For Sale. Romantic, Historic, Restored, Renovated. Montechino Castle, Piacenza  Province,  Northern Italy.

Original 12th century features and a 21st Century restoration. Now a contemporary mansion , modern luxury and technology.

Authentically antique furnishings fit for an historic castle. 

The extensive grounds contain 67 acres of farms, fields, gardens, orchards, & mature parkland. Move in condition.

All about Montechino Castle, follow up with this page

 
Montechino Castle is a place where dreams are made, the coveted "buen retiro." With the charm of a Tuscan villa and the cheerfulness of a mansion in Provence, dive into history and enjoy its magical medieval atmosphere.
     

Location

The Castle is located  in Montechino in the Riglio valley, part of the Nure valley, the larger central valley of Piacenza.

 

 
   
Nure valley
     
Riglio valley
Riglio valley
Country
Region
Province
Comuni
River
Riglio
Mountan Community
Mountan Community Nure and Arda vallyes
 

Riglio valley

     
   
Airport
Distance to Montechino
Time
104 km - 64 miles
1 hr. 27 min.
154 km - 96 miles
2 hr. 4 min.
160 km - 99 miles
1 hr. 56 min.
245 km - 152 miles
2 hr. 36 min.
566 km - 352 miles
5 hr. 35 min.
 
 
a Triumph TR3 classic car in front of Montechino castle
     
 
 
BMW R80 GS 1988
 

How to get there

Montechino is located in the Piacenza hills, a half hour's drive from the highway interchange at Piacenza, accessible from anywhere in northern Italy.

From Piacenza go to Carpaneto and continue on to Gropparello. From Gropparello there are two ways to reach Montechino by road. The first goes through Ca Ravazzoli, ( 6.8 km, 10 minutes by car)

The second is through Ca' La Rocca. (6.6 km, 11 minutes) Both are beautiful trips noted for lovely hills and woods. Along the way there are several scenic vistas with a charming countryside dotted with farms. The landscape recalls the ancient division of property into small fiefdoms, each with its own defensive citadel located in dominant positions on promontories overlooking the valley.

From Parma by the highway A1 (77 km in 1 hour approximately).

Google map

 
   
Gropparello
     
As you arrive in Montechino (524 m, 1719 feet altitude), look for the medieval Montechino Castle on your right at the crest of the mountain overlooking the Riglio river valley.
   
Riglio river
     

The Montechino Castle

The castle was built from large rectangular stones. It features an archetypical defensive tower topped by battlements with Guelphs merlons. Still visible are the original decorative gables, the foundations of a medieval bridge, and the original drawbridge apparatus.

Nestled among 67 acres of parkland with mature forests and farmland, the castle is in perfect condition, completely renovated, restored and furnished. It is liveable year round with a central heating system powered by a relatively green methane heating system. Its main living area is spread over two stories with a total of 1,100 square meters (11,840 square feet)

 
   
Montechino castle aerial view
     

The restoration

Renovated many times over the centuries, and most recently in 21st century, the castle is in perfect condition, fully furnished, and equipped with a modern heating system.

 
   
the castle at the beginning of the 20th century
     

The property

The Castle features a modern kitchen with fireplace, formal living room with vaulted ceiling and fireplace, family room, study with fireplace vaulted ceiling, and fireplace, eight bedrooms, eight bathrooms, cellar, basement, and garage. The property also includes a botanical garden of 600 square meters (6450 square feet), an orchard, three outlying farmhouses, and barns.

 
   
Montechino castle today
     
 
summer fields of grain
 
the fields in the fall
     
 
Montechino castle in summer, east small entrance
     
Montechino castle during the winter, note the ancient foundations of the drawbridge in front of the castle
     
 
lavender bushes and cypress trees
 
olive trees
     
 
autumn
 
main entrance in autumn
     
 
side entrance
 
under the basement of the castle
     
 
cypress trees in november
 
autumn colors
     
 
iris
 
the castle vegetable garden
     
 
garden flowers
 
white rose garden
     
 
along the path to the orchard
 
benches in the garden
     
 
summer dinner
 
overlooking the fields
     
 
view of the grain field
 
stairs to the fields
     
 
formal dining room
 
grand fireplace in the living room
     
 
the library
 
mahogany desk
     
library
desk
small antique table
fireplace with antique armchairs
 
living with fireplace
 
main bedroom with ancient desk and air conditioner
 
one of the seven guests bedroom
 
 
19th century walnut bed
 
classic Salvator Rosa fireplace
     
main bathroom
     
the grand-mother's ancient kitchen
     
 
country kitchen with produces from the castle gardens
 
 
antique copper pots
 
cooking over the kitchen fireplace
     

Strategic Location of the Castle

The Montechino Castle was built in the 12th century and initially controlled by the Knights Templar as a strategic outpost for the defence of the Riglio valley. The castle controlled an important road between Northern Europe and South Europe.

 
   
the Via Francigena in autumn
     

Located along the ancient Via Francigena route, it served those on pilgrimage to Rome, Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, Spain, and to the holy sites in Jerusalem. There were many such sites dotted with castles and fortifications as the Via Francigena were part of a vast network of medieval trade routes.

 
   
discovering the Via Francigena

 

 

Origins and history

The castles of the province of Piacenza bear witness to the strategic importance that this area had for many centuries. The Romans were the first to build fortified garrisons to protect their trade routes and to control the tribes of Ligurians and Celts. Charlemagne and Frederick Barbarossa had interests in the area to protect. With the passages of armies came sieges, subsequent assaults, the destruction and ensuing reconstruction of castles. These turbulent centuries saw a series of feudal of lords and kingdoms gain and loose control of the region.

The Montechino Castle was part of a dense network of fortifications, castles, garrisons and military bases controlled by the Knights of the Temple of Jerusalem. The castle controlled an important trade route between Northern Europe and the Southern Europe. Located along the ancient Via Francigena it served those on pilgrimage to Rome, Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, Spain, and to the holy sites in Jerusalem. There were many such places dotted with castles and fortifications as the Via Francigena was part of a vast network of medieval commercial trade routes. The Templars settled in Piacenza in 1160, where they built the Commandery of the Temple of Santa Maria della Misericordia and operated the Hospital attached to the ancient Church of Sant'Egidio (now St. Joseph's Hospital).

 
   
the Templars
     

From the 13th to the mid 15th century, war, famine, and epidemics, marked the history of Europe. Italy was not exempt. Because of its strategic geographic location, Piacenza and its valleys were the scene of conflict among the Pope and Emperor in the Investiture Controversy, with Guelphs and the Ghibellines were factions supporting the Pope and the Holy Roman Emperor, respectively, in central and northern Italy.  In 1393 Gian Galeazzo Visconti, Duke of Milan, while solidifying his control of the area, conferred the feudal title to much the lands surrounding Montechino to his vassal allies, the Confalonieri. The struggle for power starting in the thirteenth century, left a legacy of deep internal divisions among the ruling classes and the peasants, giving rise to a lively dynamics of factional clashes. The Guelphs and Ghibellines, each desirous of controlling the region, also constructed castles to serve as defensive fortifications along the Trebbia river, and the Riglio river.

 
   
corner tower of the castle before the restoration
     

In 1441, Filippo Maria Visconti, the subsequent Duke of Milan, gave the feudal title of Count, the castle and its lands to his allies, Bertolino and Cabrino Nicelli. But as the Renaissance began the furious struggle between feudal lords vying for the territory subsided. The importance of defensive castles diminished and the castles were transformed into sumptuous mansions, expanded and enriched with new wings, galleries, frescoes and luxurious furnishings. The Renaissance gave rebirth to high culture. Area castles were renovated with great halls for music, dance, and grand parties enabling the aristocratic lords and ladies to enjoy the pleasures of their time in great splendor. The most famous opera soloist of the era, Ludovico Ariosto, was a frequent guest and performer at the Castle.

 

 
     

Guelphs and Ghibellines

Guelph (often spelled Guelf; in Italian Guelfo, plural Guelfi) is an Italian form of Welf, the family of the dukes of Bavaria (including the namesake Welf, as well as Henry the Lion). The Welfs were said to have used the name as a rallying cry during the Battle of Weinsberg in 1140, in which the rival Hohenstaufens of  Swabia (led by Conrad III) used Waiblingen, the name of a castle, as their cry. Waiblingen, at the time pronounced and spelled somewhat like "Wibellingen", became subsequently Ghibellino in Italian. The names were likely introduced to Italy during the reign of Frederick Barbarossa. When Frederick conducted military campaigns in Italy to expand imperial power there, his supporters became known as Ghibellines (Ghibellini). The Lombard League and its allies, defending the liberties of the urban communes against the Emperor's encroachments, became known as Guelphs. The Lombard League defeated Frederick at the Battle of Legnano in 1176. Frederick recognized the full autonomy of the cities of the Lombard league under his nominal suzerainty.

 
Guelph coat-of-arms
Ghibellin coat-of-arms
     

The division between two distinct "Guelph" and "Ghibelline" parties became defined during Frederick Barbarossa's reign (12th century). Ghibellines were the imperial party, while the Guelphs supported the Pope. Broadly speaking, Guelphs tended to come from wealthy mercantile families, whereas Ghibellines were predominantly those whose wealth was based on agricultural estates. Guelph cities, of course, tended to be in areas where the Emperor was more a threat to local interests than the Pope, and Ghibelline cities tended to be in areas where the enlargement of the Papal States was the more immediate threat. Smaller cities tended to be Ghibelline if the larger city nearby was Guelph, as Guelph Florence and Ghibelline Siena faced off at the Battle of Montaperti, 1260. Pisa maintained a staunch Ghibelline stance in contraposition to her fiercest rivals, the Guelph Genoa and Florence. Adhesion to one party or another could be therefore motivated by local or regional political reasons. Within cities factions broke downguild by guild, rione by rione, and a city could easily change party after internal upheaval. Moreover, sometimes traditionally Ghibelline cities allied with the Papacy, while Guelph cities were even punished with Papal interdict.

It must be noted that contemporaries did not use the terms Guelph and Ghibellines much until about 1250, and then only in Tuscany (where they originated), with the names "church party" and "imperial party" preferred in some areas.

 
   

13th–14th centuries

At the beginning of the 13th century, Philip of Swabia, a Hohenstaufen, and his son-in-law Otto of Brunswick, a Welf, were rivals for the imperial throne. Philip was supported by the Ghibellines as a relative of Frederick I, while Otto was supported by the Guelphs. Philip’s heir, Frederick II, was an enemy of both Otto and the Papacy, and during Frederick’s reign the Guelphs became more strictly associated with the Papacy while the Ghibellines became supporters of the Empire, and of Frederick in particular. Frederick II also introduced this division to the Crusader States in Syria during the Sixth Crusade.

After the death of Frederick II in 1250 the Ghibellines were supported by Conrad IV and later Manfred, while the Guelphs were supported by Charles of Anjou. The Sienese Ghibellines inflicted a noteworthy defeat on Florentine Guelphs at the Battle of Montaperti (1260). After the Hohenstaufen dynasty lost the Empire when Charles of Anjou executed Conradin in 1268, the terms Guelph and Ghibelline became associated with individual families and cities, rather than the struggle between empire and papacy. In that period the stronghold of Italian Ghibellines was the city of Forlì, in Romagna. That city remained with the Ghibelline factions, partly as a means of preserving its independence, rather than out of loyalty to the temporal power, as Forlì was nominally in the Papal States. Over the centuries, popes many times tried to resume the control of Forlì, sometimes by violence or by allurements.

 
Battle of Montaperti (September 4, 1260)
   

The division between Guelphs and Ghibellines was especially important in Florence, although the two sides frequently rebelled against each other and took power in many of the other northern Italian cities as well. Essentially the two sides were now fighting either against German influence (in the case of the Guelphs), or against the temporal power of the Pope (in the case of the Ghibellines). In Florence and elsewhere the Guelphs usually included merchants and burghers, while the Ghibellines tended to be noblemen. They also adopted peculiar customs such as wearing a feather on a particular side of their hats, or cutting fruit a particular way, according to their affiliation.

After the Guelphs finally defeated the Ghibellines in 1289 at Campaldinoand Caprona, Guelphs began to fight among themselves. By 1300 Florence was divided into the Black Guelphs and the White Guelphs. The Blacks continued to support the Papacy, while the Whites were opposed to Papal influence, specifically the influence of Pope Boniface VIIIDante was among the supporters of the White Guelphs, and in 1302 was exiled when the Black Guelphs took control of Florence. Those who were not connected to either side, or who had no connections to either Guelphs or Ghibellines, considered both factions unworthy of support but were still affected by the change of power in their respective cities. Emperor Henry VII was disgusted by supporters of both sides when he visited Italy in 1310, and in 1334 Pope Benedict XII threatened excommunication to anyone who used either name. In 1325, the city-states of Guelph Bologna and Ghibelline Modena fought over a civic bucket in the War of the Bucket, where the famous Battle of Zappolino.

 
Profile portrait of Dante (c1265-1321) by Sandro Botticelli.
   

Curiosities

Leonardo da Vinci and a bag of fossils

Nicchio Gutturnio Classico wine from the Colli Piacentini viniculture zone, was named in honor of Leonardo da Vinci. In 1482 while Leonardo da Vinci was in Milan to build the equestrian monument to Francesco Sforza, he received a visit from a group of farmers Piacenza. They brought him a bag of fossils from the Pliocene era called Nicchi. These fine fossils became the symbol for fine wines of the time.


 
Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) Self-portrait in red chalk , circa 1512 to 1515, Royal Library of Turin.

Curiosities

Roman Veleia and the Tabula Alimentaria

At about 9.5 km (6 miles) from Montechino is the ancient Roman city of Veleia located in the Piacenza Apennine foothills 15 km (9.3 miles) SW of Lugagnano Val d'Arda. The presence of a cremation burial pit from the second Iron Age, excavated in the late nineteenth century indicated that the area was originally a prehistoric settlement. Later it became a major agricultural and commercial center for the 5th century BC Ligurian Eleiati or Veleiati peoples. The Roman city of Veleia was founded in the middle of the 2th century BC – after fierce and prolonged resistance by the indigenous peoples. 

In the mid first century BC Veleia became the capital of a district that extended from the mountains to the river Taro to the Luretta River, and from the Apennines to the plains bordering the territories of ParmaPiacenza.

Along with the Roman Empire the city started to decline in the late third century AD and disappeared completely in the 4th century due to a earthquake that devastated the town. Archaeological excavations of the ancient Roman City were first made in 1760. The Forum was discovered surrounded by a portico with Tuscan columns, along with public buildings and private homes. As they dug deeper they found an arch of a Roman basilica, with a series of memorial  statues from the Julio-Claudian era, public baths, and numerous other works of sculpture, particularly bronzes, now preserved in the Archaeological Museum of Parma.

 

Roman Veleia

Architectural remains of historical importance

• Rubria the Lex de Gaul (49-42 BC), which established the procedure for granting Roman citizenship to the inhabitants of the region;

• The Tabula Alimentaria from the time of Trajan created food assistance in order to alleviate problems afflicting the small farms in the region. This allowed for loans and mortgages to be given to farmers at a low rate of interest (5%), and assistance in the care of poor children, thus encouraging an increase in both population and agricultural production.

The table also describes the territory of the municipality of Veleia, composes of 16 main villages, the real administrative and territorial units, in which were found blocks of houses and land held by various Roman noble families and supported with the revenues from the territory. Among the important small towns were Velleiapagus Bagienno (now called Liguria Bagienni populated people from Liguria who settled the in Trebbia). The capital of Trebbia, Bobbio is flanked by the ancient villages of Domitius Mezzano Scotti, Barberino, Ambitrebbio Travo, Pietra Parcellara, and Eboreo.

 

Tabula alimentaria traianea (3th century)

 

Piacenza activities
 
     
Things to do
Located from one half hour to one hour from Montechino
Dist. km/miles
Time
Horseback riding
Centro Ippico San Lorenzo: Localita' Cà Ruperti 1, frazione San Lorenzo, Castell'Arquato. Tel. +39.335.8076179
27/17.7
38 min.
Scuderia L'Oca Nera: via Costa Orzate 19, Localita' Sant'Antonio Castell'Arquato. Tel. +39.339.22656557, mail m.morganti@scuderialocanera.com, web site http://www.scuderialocanera.it/contatti.html
27/17.7
38 min.
Golf
Golf Club Castell'Arquato: Localita' Borlacca 1, frazione Bacedasco Alto, Castell'arquato. Tel. +39.0523.895557, mail segreteria@golfclubcastellarquato.com
27/17.7
38 min.
 
Golf Club Castello La Bastardina: Localita' Bastardina, strada Grintorto, Agazzano. Tel. +39.393.9036927, mail info@golf-bastardina.com, web site http://www.golf-bastardina.com
38/23.6
57 min.
Swimming pools
Centro sportivo: Localita' Le Forche, Bettola. Tel. +39.0523 911515
18/11.2
24 min.
 
Piscina Lido: via Provinciale 15, Castell'Arquato. Tel. +39.0523803261
27/17.7
38 min.
Sci
Pista sci di fondo - Sci Club Bobbio: Localita' Le Vallette, Ceci, Bobbio. Tel. +39.340.7037395 - 3470508099, mail sciclubbobbio@virgilio.it, web site http://www.sciclubbobbio.it
39/24.2
56 min.
 
Sci alpino - Impianti di risalita a Passo Penice: Localita' Passo Penice, Bobbio. Tel. +39.0523.933411 snow info +39.349.4238068, mail passopenice@libero.it, web site http://www.passopenice.it/
51/31.7
1 hr. 11 min.
Tennis
Tennis Club Bettola: Bettola. Tel. +39.0523.917847.
18/11.2
24 hr. min.
 
Impianto sportivo comunale "Cementirossi": via Boggiani 11, Ponte dell'Olio. Tel. +39.0523.878468.
14/8.7
22 min.
Spas and wellness centers
Centro Benessere Hammam di Fariba: via Atleti Azzurri d'Italia 5, PC. Tel. +39.0523 071818 / +39.0523.482357, mail hammamdifariba@fastwebnet.it
36/22.4
48 min.
 
Terme di Salsomaggiore: via Roma 9, Salsomaggiore Terme, Parma. Tel. +39.0524-58.26.11, info@termedisalsomaggiore.it, www.termedisalsomaggiore.it
44/27.3
1 hr.
       
 
     

motorbike tour in Piacenza province with a classic Norton Commando