Here we are with the second part of my visit to this really interesting Castle. If you missed the first one, click here.
King Vittorio Emanuele II bought the castle for 55,000 lire from a notary in Aosta, had the stables built and a tower raised, transforming it into an observatory. In 1989 it was purchased by the Aosta Valley Region and after further restoration and fitting it was opened to the public.
Originally the ground floor was the hereditary Prince's and the guardian's apartment with dining room connected to kitchen and pantry in the basement. Since 1989 these rooms on the ground floor have been open to the public and dedicated to a permanent exhibition on the Savoy family.
Among the most prominent objects was one of the first examples of the Italian flag placed on a staircase. At the end of the tour there was a notice board full of objects belonging to the royal family, donated by some collectors. The ground floor could be visited freely, we saw some models of the Valley and some newspapers of the time, portraying the King engaged in hunting. There was also a small room with a screen where you could see some films summarizing the history of the Castle.
The first floor still houses the rooms belonging to the royal apartment which, with the help of some original furnishings and fabrics, meticulously reproduced that evokes the living dimension of the Umbertine era. The most characteristic room is the Trophies Gallery wanted by King Umberto I, that is made with thousands of ibex and chamois horns, combined with floral decorations painted on the walls.
Among the anecdotes told by the guide there is one in particular that struck me, the one concerning King Umberto I himself, who gave the task to the villagers to push the ibexes to come down from the mountains to reach the village, once they arrived in the vicinity they were killed for amusement by the royals.
The second floor originally housed the bedrooms for special guests, but now the rooms furnished according to the needs of last sovereigns who frequented it between 1935 and 1946, including their small collection of paintings by 19th and 20th century Italian artists.
A singular experience that struck me in opposite ways, on the one hand the beauty of its interior and the calm outside, being in a quite small town and with few inhabitants relaxation is a very strong element. On the other hand it left me a little stunned and shocked to learn that there are the remains of thousands of souls of a formidable animal species that unfortunately is in serious trouble.
Not the most beautiful castle I've ever seen, but certainly one of the most interesting given the presence of so many objects inside that alone are worth the price of the ticket. After the tour inside we were among the few to visit the outside where there are beautiful gardens with pergolas for the vineyards, a fountain and toilets difficult to find because without any indication and in a quite secluded place that should have been the stable.