Tagliolo Castle, sleep overlooking the vineyard

Sogni d'oroTagliolo Castle, sleep overlooking the vineyard


Tagliolo Castle, surrounded by its medieval village, dominates a large area of ​​the Alto Monferrato and was our stop in Italy on the way back after the tour in France.
We heard about its long history from the owner, the Marquis Luca Pinelli Gentile who usually resides there together with his parents following the work in the vineyard and in the cellar and commuting to Milan where his wife and daughters live.

At Tagliolo in the Upper Monferrato

Castello di Tagliolo

Thus, thanks to his exquisite availability, after the castles in France, we had the extraordinary opportunity to stay in one of the most interesting fortresses in the most castled area of ​​Italy. We are in the province of Alessandria, in that strip of Piedmontese land which is strongly affected by the Genoese influence, a territory of castles and ancient towers, so much so that it has been defined as the first in Europe for the density of historic buildings: around the tower of Tagliolo Castle alone there are ten castles built by historic families of the Republic of Genoa.

Castello di Tagliolo

The Marquis himself explained to us why it is called Alto Monferrato, despite the fact that it is geographically located below the Basso Monferrato, during our very pleasant chat following the invitation to have breakfast in his private apartment in the castle. The name owes it to the fact that the highest hills in the area are concentrated here, ideal for lookout towers and castles now custodians of a land rich in traditions and unchanged over the centuries.

Castello di Tagliolo

Precisely this characteristic has since 2014 placed this unique landscape, which has always been beautiful, among the Unesco World Heritage Sites. Certainly the weather didn’t allow us to enjoy it to the fullest: after Frejus we left the sun in France and were greeted by pouring rain. We soon consoled ourselves with a visit to the cellar and tasting of the wines obtained from the vines grown here which date back to an ancient family tradition which Luca Pinelli Gentile told us about at length, who still carries it forward by grafting innovation onto history: we talk about it in #ViaggidiVini.

Castello di Tagliolo

The Castle divides its activity between a farm, an accommodation facility and since 1999 a venue for events, especially weddings, which take place between the wonderful garden and the refined internal rooms embellished with carpets and large paintings on the walls.

The banquets are set up on the terrace overlooking the surrounding hills or in the Bigattiera, a mezzanine space that takes its name from the silkworms called “bigat” which was formerly used as a drying room, which can accommodate up to 150 people with receptions organized by the best catering companies in Northern Italy.

Castello di Tagliolo

After settling into the apartment reserved for us in the small medieval village, inhabited all year round by six families and in which the five elegant Guest Houses have been created, we followed Luca in the visit to the Castle which has belonged to his family since 1750.

In the lower courtyard there are the service buildings, the stables, the chapel and the new wing dating back to the 17th century with the small balcony built at the end of the 19th century to a design by the famous Portuguese architect Alfredo d’Andrade who between 1890 and 1910 also had the crowning of the battlements in brick and the staircase leading to the main floor built.

The oldest part is the one at the base of the tower and dates back to the early Middle Ages while the upper part was built in the fifteenth century. The first historical information on Tagliolo dates back to 976 when the emperor Ottone I granted Monferrato as a fief to the Marquis Aleramo I.

Over the centuries various owners have followed one another: from the Marquises del Bosco to the Malaspinas, to the Republic of Genoa, to the Viscontis and Sforzas, up to the Doria Gentiles and the current Marquises Pinelli Gentile. In 1750 Anna Teresa Gentile was given in marriage to the wealthy Genoese Costantino Pinelli Salvago and since then, together with the coats of arms and surnames, the heirs have lived in a part of it.

Castello di Tagliolo

The noble palace was also the seat of the Court of Appeal and those sentenced to death were executed in the square by cutting off the head which was hung in front of the Hangman’s House, the oldest in the whole town dating back to 1100.

Castello di Tagliolo

It was in this house that we stayed overnight with our Otto. The Guest House, whose name has been changed to a more polite Casa del Gelsomino, is spread over two floors. On the ground floor, the entrance faces the staircase that leads to the upper floor where there is a kitchen, living room, two bedrooms and a bathroom. A large garden is available to those who stay there from where you can admire the Castle’s vineyards which can be accessed from a “secret door” hidden in the walls of the buildings.

Castello di Tagliolo

After the visit to the tower and the private parts reserved for the family that Luca exceptionally showed us, we went down to the Cellars on the ground floor of the castle. Among the pearls the typical Alexandrian infernot, a small underground compartment carved in sandstone which represents an appendix of the cellar, devoid of light and natural ventilation, the ancient Slavonian oak barrels used only for red wines, the French oak barriques used for the refinement of the finest wines and the 19th century press.

Castello di Tagliolo

Then it was very pleasant to take refuge in the warmth of our little house in the Ricetto of Castello di Tagliolo which also houses La Castagnola, an elegant 16th century house on the first floor with a collection of paintings and drawings of dogs that are much loved by the family: one of the reasons why they hosted us with our Otto, ending up in our #sognidoro. The other Guest Houses reserved for guests are Casa Gentile which has direct access from the garden, Casa Nobile and La Foresteria.

In conclusion, why stop at Tagliolo Castle? Because Tagliolo Monferrato is a splendid medieval village and staying in the houses under the castle walls offers many emotions and a breathtaking view of the Alto Monferrato.
The location is strategic, just a stone’s throw from the Ovada tollbooth and from Acqui Terme where the water gushes out at 75 degrees from La Bollente, a thermal water fountain located in the center of the town.

What’s more, here you are taken by the throat: in the small restaurants and trattorias you can taste both the typical Piedmontese cuisine and the traditional Ligurian dishes. Because this is a borderland which until 1814, except for a few years under the dominion of the Dukes of Milan, was part of the Republic of Genoa. And for those who don’t want to cook or go out to dinner, there is the possibility of home delivery of dishes cooked to perfection by a lady who lives in the village.

Tagliolo Castle
Via Castello, 1 – Tagliolo Monferrato (Alessandria)
Info: +39 0143 89195 – castelloditagliolo@libero.it


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