Local Ambassadors – Visits to the Castles of the Duchy of Parma and Piacenza
Visiting a castle guided by the owner himself – prince, count, a great entrepreneur or patron, whatever the case may be – to discover the beauty and secrets of their home. From March 25 until August 5 this is possible in 10 Castles of the Duchy of Parma and Piacenza in 10 special guided visits, one at each castle.
In the role of “Ambassadors”, guests will find descendants of ancient families, princes, counts, but also patrons, great entrepreneurs and, why not, young, enthusiastic and energetic mayors. For the first time they will be the guides themselves helping visitors to discover the history, secrets and curiosities of their “houses”, in a very unique visit.
You will be led by the patron who has brought the manor back to its ancient splendor with important restorations, from the passionate collector of ancient weapons, or contemporary art, or books and missals, or ancient sacred vestments, or by the Prince who has decide to open his home, where he still lives today, to the public. You will walk through rooms and down hallways with the homeowner who will tell of habits and customs of a long ago era that have been passed down from generation to generation. Or you will chat with the mayor who, as the standard bearer for public wellbeing, will take you inside the monuments that belong to the city, and therefore to all citizens.
These will be unique tales, personal stories about life long ago and life today, with anecdotes and mysteries of strongholds, fortresses, manors, secret rooms, where you can discover the biggest network of strongholds, fortresses and castles present today in Emilia-Romagna.
Here are the upcoming tours in the ten castles.
Saturday, April 1, at 3.30pm
Castle of San Pietro in Cerro (PC)
A visit to get to know, from the tales of the homeowner Franco Spaggiari, all about the characteristics and the curiosities of the Castle of San Pietro and about the family that has lived in it for more than 500 years.
“I believe that art must be a patrimony for everyone; for this reason I am happy to open the doors of my home to anyone who would like to visit it”. The homeowner Franco Spaggiari will accompany visitors on their discovery of the history and architecture of the Castle, a 15th century plains fortress. The visit includes, besides the opening of all the rooms and halls of the castle, access to the MiM – Museum in Motion – a collection of contemporary art, and to the exhibition Cina Millenaria – I Guerrieri di Xian, (Millennial China – the Warriors of Xian) which will be held in the cellars. It will also be a chance for visitors to get to know the latest project done by the castle owner who, by making his personal collection of ancient weapons available to the public, has set up an incredible exposition of prized antiques linked to the art of war: swords, spears, halberd, scimitars, armor, daggers, knives, guns and rifles from all over the world. The visitors will also have the possibility to find out more about the restorations that have been finished over the last 20 years and that have allowed the Castle of San Pietro to win the sought after prize “Piero Gazzola 2016”, a recognition promoted by the association Historic Italian Homes, by the association Historic Buildings of Piacenza and by FAI – Fondo Ambiente Italiano, with the exceptional support of the Superintendency of Archeology, Fine Arts and Landscapes.
Cost: € 8.00
Sunday, April 9, at 4pm
Castle of Rivalta (PC)
Guided tour with the Count Orazio Zanardi Landi owner of the castle and of the town of Rivalta, president of the Association Castles of the Duchy of Parma and Piacenza.
A special guided tour by the Count Orazio Zanardi Landi, owner of the castle and descendent of the family of the Zanardi Landi Counts, a branch of the Landi family that has lived in Rivalta since at least 1200. During the first two dates the guided tour will include also the special exhibition of cityscapes and prints engraved in copper from the 1700s with the exclusive opening of rooms that are usually closed to the public. The exhibition will open the doors of the Music Room and there, in the soft light, you can admire glimpses of the main European cities. These works are impossible to describe, very rare and exciting and they reproduce the Grand Tour of Europe that a young high society person who wanted to see the world would have done. Watercolor prints and engravings that faithfully reproduce even the smallest details of the main places in European capitals that, if lit from behind, offer a very poetic night vision. The Count has chosen to display them as if they were a real journey that, going from Piacenza, stops in the main Italian cities and symbolic places of the continent. These works tell of the evolution of our cities, their frenetic transformation into their current state, their evolution throughout history. For those who wish to, at the end you can book an aperitif with the family of the Zanardi Landi Counts.
Cost of the guided visit with the owner with the aperitif: €25.00
Saturday, April 29, at 11.00am and at 3pm
Palazzo Farnese – Cittadella Viscontea (PC)
Discovering an extraordinary art collection. Guided visit accompanied by two key figures, enlivened by the passion and love for the city of Piacenza and for Palazzo Farnese. The councilwoman of culture and tourism Tiziana Albasi and the director of the Museums of Palazzo Farnese Antonella Gigli will be your guides to show you the beauties, secrets, and treasures of this Visconti town.
Advanced booking is mandatory. Cost: €6
Sunday, April 30, at 11.30am
Castle of Scipione of the Pallavicino Marquees (PR)
The Count René von Holstein, son of the Marchioness Maria Luisa Pallavicino, will personally open the doors of this home founded by his ancestors for a special visit. A tour to discover the history, anecdotes, mysteries and secrets of this millennial Castle and the family that founded it up to today.
The Count René von Holstein will accompany guests himself on a special tour through the history of this age-old castle founded long ago in the year 1000 by his ancestor Adalberto, a brave captain who also established the Pallavicino territory with its capital in Busseto. Through the imposing walls that tell of knightly eras and dynastic celebrations, it will be possible to look back at the doings of the brave men and women of this castle that alternated over the centuries and up to today. It will be possible to discover some objects and documents that accompanied them and areas that are not usually visible, like the private garden. At the end of the visit, there will be an aperitif and the Count will be happy to answer any questions about the Castle.
Cost of the guided visit with aperitif: €12
Saturday, May 6, from 4pm to 6pm
Castle of Tabiano (PR)
Guided visit with the owner of the castle, Professor Giacomo Corazza Martini, for the occasion of the first anniversary of the opening to the public of the castle, with refreshments on the terrace.
The tour lasts about one hour; it involves the private chapel, the honor stairway, the terraces, the dance hall decorated with mirrors and stucco, the frescoed ceilings, the library, the ancient cellars with vaulted ceilings, the red door, and the gardens. The owner will welcome guests and explain the meaning of the two plaques next to the patrician chapel. The visit begins at the south side, where guests can admire the Apennines and stop in front of the red door, the setting of a crime in 1146, when Delfino Pallavicino killed his brother Tancredi. That is followed by the original structure of the western walls and, in the large northern yard, the importing walls that go straight down to the valley and show signs of various eras of construction; from the stables to the cellars with big barrels, where the original walls sit directly on rock. After exiting the elevated terrace, guests will go up the stairs to the upper terrace with a magnificent view of the Po River Plains and the Alps.
During the visit to the rooms used for entertaining guests, the owner will recall how his grandparents Giacomo and Rosa restored the ancient manor and will tell about some facts from the feudal era, in particular the tragic love story between Riccardo d’Orange and Isabella Pallavicino, daughter of Oberto il Grande. At the end there will be refreshments on the terrace.
Cost of the guided visit with the owner with an aperitif (minimum 10 people): € 10
Sunday, May 7, from 11.00am to noon and from 3pm to 4pm
Malaspina Castle of Gambaro (PC)
Discovering the ancient Marquisate of Gambaro in Alta Val di Nure in the Apennines near Piacenza: historic guided tour of the Malaspina Manor done by the owners with the chance to have lunch in the castle.
The visit begins in front of the big door to the central tower where in the past there was a draw bridge. Some references and facts will explain why this castle was built by the powerful Malaspina family between the 15th and 16th centuries in this location. After entering through the door of the tower, the origins of the village of Gambaro will be explained and its ancient Lombard inhabitants. From the inner courtyard, you can admire the imposing columns – lesenes in stone that dot the loggia and you can see the original perimeter through the fragments of walls, which was lost after the Spanish-French was that in 1636 here in Gambaro saw the Genoa troops fighting against the Farnese ones. You will enter into the current pool room where you can admire crests of the ancient noble families of the Alta Val di Nure. Then you will move on to the banquet room which was home to the municipality in the Napoleon era and was then used as a school. Lastly, visitors will go down into the basement to see the prison and the cellars. Lunch will be served at 12:30pm giving both morning visitors and afternoon ones the chance to enjoy local dishes.
Cost of the guided visit with the owner: €5/person (free for kids up to age 12)
Cost of the guided visit with the owner and lunch: €35 (€25 for kids up to age 12)
Sunday, May 14, 10.00am-12.00pm and 3.00pm-6.00pm
Castle of Montechiarugolo (PR)
The Castle of Montechiarugolo revealed. Discovering the rounds made on the ramparts and the gardens of the castle of Montechiarugolo exceptionally open to the public.
The owners will accompany visitors in their discovery of places never before opened to the public: the ramparts with the machicolations, the embrasures, the room that was the library of Pomponio Torelli and, later, a long walk in the gardens and woods of the castle where visitors can admire ancient plants, flowers and herbs.
Cost of the guided visit with the owner: €6 for gardens and ramparts (plus €6 for the usual visit to the main rooms)
Sunday, June 25, from 5.30pm to 7.30pm
Castle of Contignaco (PR)
The Castle of Contignaco ambassador of Parma and nearby areas. Special visit to the Castle of the Aldighieri.
The Castle of Contignaco will be exceptionally opened to the public with a guided visit accompanied by the owners. Besides leading guests on the discovery of the history of this castle and its inner rooms, the owners will talk about the things that tie them to the manor and its lands.
The visit, for those who would like, can end with a wine tasting of the wines made in the cellars of the castle, in which the owners will explain the ancient history of this family business.
Advanced booking is mandatory.
Cost of the guided visit with the owner: € 8.00
Cost of the guided visit with the owner with tasting: € 15.00
Sunday, August 5, at 3pm and 5pm
Castle of Gropparello (PC)
The origins of the Castle of Gropparello date back to the 8th century and, over time, it was owned by the Fulgosi, the Pallavicino, the Sforza, the Campofregoso, the Attendolo, and the Gibelli families. It will be Gianfranco Gibelli, owner of the manor together with his wife Maria Rita Trecci Gibelli, who will welcome visitors and accompany them around the rooms of the castle, telling anecdotes, legends and mysteries. Booking recommended.
For information and booking
Castles of the Duchy of Parma and Piacenza – Club di Prodotto
Tel. 0521.823221; 0521.823220 – fax 0521.822561