CASTLE OF VIGOLENO: A FAIRYTALE DAY SUITABLE ALSO FOR CHILDREN
The village of Vigoleno is really small surrounded by a wide green area in the neighbourhood of Vernasca, at about an hour from Parma and Piacenza. It was certified among the “Most beautiful Villages in Italy” and “Orange Flag” of the Italian Touring Club. It’s closed by imposing and complete crenellated walls and represents for us visitors an environment of great charme, that brings us to discover the historical importance that the place with its castle, located in the village itself, had for the surrounding area.
We did this day trip last year (2018) during a spring day, attracted by what we heard about this medieval jewel: today I’d be ready to return to Vigoleno again and Giada, our daughter, had really fun to visit the rooms of the castle, still completely furnished, to walk the patrol path, to take photos to the decorated walls of the village and to eat in a luxury restaurant!
CASTLE OF VIGOLENO: WHAT TO SEE
Beautiful and suggestive, it belonged to several aristocratic families, but was inhabited by the Scotti family since the beginning of the XX century. Later it became the residence of the princess Maria Ruspoli-Gramont, who transformed it into a cultural lounge, where she invited the major personalities of the time in the literary and artistic fields, such as the poet Gabriele D’Annunzio, the pianist Albert Rubinstein, the surrealist painter Max Ernst, the dancer Anna Pavlova and many other.
I highly suggest a visit to the Noble Floor of the castle, still completely furnished and perfectly conserved, with wooden coffered ceilings, frescoes walls, chandeliers and mirrors. Moreover there’s the small theatre with twelve seats, frescoed by the famous painter Jacovleff with vivid colours and oriental decorations which represent dancing characters, among whom the princess herself, animals and exotic figures with a symbolic meaning; everything surrounded by a rich branches vegetation.
THE FORTIFIED TOWER
It was the extreme defence of the castle, composed by the ravelin and the petrol path. It’s on four floors: the last is composed by the crenellations, from which it’s possible to enjoy an amazing panoramic view over the surrounding hills and the village itself.
THE ROMANESQUE CHURCH
It’s called San Giorgio church, in the Romanesque style, dated back to the XII century. The building has a basilical plant and inside it conserves some important and well visible frecoes with vivid colours, in spite they’re a bit consumed by the time. What impressed us was the presence, more or less at the entrance of the church, of anthropomorphic and zoomorphic figures that make strange but also fascinating the overview.
ORATORIO DELLA BEATA VERGINE DELLE GRAZIE
It was probably the Scotti family’s chapel: it’s a building built with the local stone, in front of the entrance of the castle. In the centuries it had the double function of noble chapel and public oratory, while from some documents, we can suppose that in the past it was used as a pilgrim shelter: that’s why there’s a relief of San Rocco. Unfortunately the building was closed and not visitable inside.
CASTLE OF VIGOLENO: USEFUL INFO
- The village is very small, enclosed within the walls: inside there’s a restaurant, a tavern and some shops. You can freely walk along the centre and the outer streets of the village. What I suggest you however, is a guided visit: you can choose between several kinds, but I suggest you the complete one, that is the one including the fortified tower, the Noble Floor, the Village and the Church. It was very interesting to discover the history of the village, of the church and of the castle! The visit to the Noble Floor cannot absolutely be skipped, as you could see from the photos above, and it’s visitable just with the guide, while the visit to the fortified tower can be free, in case you don’t choose the complete guided visit.
- If you’d like, can also add the visit to the museum “Museo degli Orsanti”: a singular museum, unique in Europe, that gathers witnesses about the Orsanti’s life, proud emigrants, composed by artists, musicians and animal trainers, who brought their shows to the streets and the squares of the world. The museum hosts unique pieces linked to the famous shows and photos of that past time. The cost of this museum is separate, or you can buy a combine ticket (museum + guided visit). For all info, costs and opening hours of all kind of tour, click here.
- To have lunch there’s a little bar just outside the walls, where you can have a choise between toasts, hot sandwiches and I think also salads: this is the only solution in the surroundings if you want to eat without spending a fortune. Otherwise inside the walls there’s a tavern “Taverna al Castello” and an elegant resturant worthy of the location where it is, “San Giorgio Restaurant – Castello di Vigoleno”: we chose this last one but it’s a bit expensive. The food was delicious and the location really royal. If you have some money to spend, I suggest you this solution, perfectly in theme with the day: I’ll leave you this link with all info about costs and menu.
- As last year, also this year on the 15th of June 2019, there’ll be the bandits night “Notte dei Briganti”, a night walk, 8 km long among the crests enlightened by the only moon. More info here.
- We left the car outside the village, a bit before the hill, where there was a little public car park.
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THE MEANING OF TRAVEL FOR ME
In the last years I follow what Dalai Lama says:” At least once a year go to a place you’ve never been before”.
After years of sufferings and sacrifices, I’ve decided that life is too short and too unpredictable to continue waiting to do what I like and what makes me happy.
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