A castle that looks like those of fairy tales, inside Aosta Valley (Italy) Alps next to Switzerland border and a dense vegetation all around, unique example for a region plenty of castles but almost all with square shapes and places in strategic military areas.
Some friends of mine showed me some pictures of it years ago, finally I decided to go visit it, after few days of bad weather the sky become clear and I took advantage of it, after about an hour and a half drive to reach Gressoney Saint Jean, I came to this place which that I must define fascinating.
Outside is really well done and well kept, luckily for me it had just been reopened after months of renovation and I had the opportunity to do a guided tour inside. The guide told us many things about it and now I'll tell you some of them.
The Castle, as its name suggests, was owned by the Savoia family, dating back to 1904, one of the most recent in the Aosta Valley area. The inside and outside sinuous shape have been specifically requested by the Queen Margherita.
The reason why this Castle is completely unique and not situated in a strategic position is because has been studied as a pleasure residence for Queen Margherita, who loved to admire the magnificent landscape offered by Monte Rosa and had it built almost at her feet.
Together with her husband Umberto I, King of Italy from 1878 to 1900, they already owned another castle in a quite distant village of the same region, that of Sarre, in which he loved to hunt.
To reach the castle at the time, with horse-drawn carriages, it took about four times more than with cars now, the road to reach it rises by an different altitude of about 1000 meters above sea level and is full of curves.
A peculiarity of this castle is that have not kitchens inside, apparently the Queen was very sensitive to smells, so meals were cooked in a structure, where the ticket office is now, next to castle, and through a underground tunnel were placed on an internal elevator, then transported directly to the dining room.
It is built on three floors, but the third is close ti the public, its towers are in neo-Gothic style, in this pictures article you can see the dining room, living rooms, the game room (the one with an original billiard table), the semicircular wood veranda and the hall of honor with the huge semi-circular durmast double staircase. On the ceilings and walls you will also find some symbols of Savoia and floral motifs particularly loved by the Sovereign.
The structure was equipped with a perfectly functioning electrical system and radiators, although for obvious reasons of energy saving they are in part not used, one of the two with great regret for the tourist guide who accompanied us during the visit, who confided to us to accuse some illness during the year because of the cold.
I love to visit Castles and places of the past and I must admit that this is one of that I appreciated most so far, besides a matter of taste, it helped a lot the fact that it is kept in excellent condition, even if being quite recent and passed directly from the hand of the Queen to that of the Valle d'Aosta Region, unlike other Castles that have been abandoned, the consequences were acts of vandalism and depredation, as for example happened at the Baron Gamba Castle of Chatillon.