The castle


The history

The castle was commissioned by Catalano Alfieri (1602-1674) – who belonged to the Alfieri family of Magliano and Castagnole delle Lanze – who began construction in 1649. Unfortunately, the life of Catalano Alfieri ended tragically before the construction of the castle was completed: accused of treason for not being able to invade the territories of Genoa, in the disastrous expedition of 1672, he was sentenced to death and locked up in the dungeons of Palazzo Madama in Turin, where he died of a heart attack on September 14, 1674. In 1679, however, he was rehabilitated, after his accuser-slanderer had been executed by beheading in 1676.

Carlo Emanuele, who was minister of the Savoy in Madrid, Paris, Vienna and ambassador in London, succeeded his father Catalano and completed the construction of the castle in the main parts, around 1680. His bust was placed in a niche of the grand staircase of honor with a dedication placed by his son Giuseppe Catalano Alfieri and Eleonora Tana’s widow of Entracque.

Carlo Emanuele’s successor was Giacinto Ludovico, 4th earl of Magliano and last male of the Alfieri of Magliano and Castagnole. He was the third husband of Monica Maillard de Tournon: from a previous marriage of this with Count Amedeo Alfieri of Cortemilia, Vittorio Alfieri was born in Asti in 1749.

With Giacinto Ludovico’s death, the Alfieri of Magliano died out in 1797. The castle passed through various hands until the Marquis Cesare of “Alfieri di Sostegno “(lords of nearby S. Martino since 1615) bought back everything in 1843. He was succeeded by his son Carlo Alberto and his nieces Adele (1851-1937) and Luisa Alfieri (1852-1921) with whom this branch of the Alfieri also died out.


Recent events

In 1952 the Marquise Margherita Pallavicino (Luisa Alfieri’s son’s widow, Giovanni Visconti Venosta) offered the building as a gift to the Municipality, which refused it; instead, the parish priest of Sant’Andrea, the priest Mr Drocco, accepted it. After various vicissitudes and improper uses, while the project of an ethnographic museum was taking shape, the Superintendence of Environmental and Architectural Heritage carried out a first protection intervention in 1976, thanks to the involvement of a group of young Maglianesi (the “Spontaneous Group “of Magliano Alfieri ) and the Albese Section of Italia Nostra.

In 1988 the Municipality of Magliano received it as a donation from the parish priest of S. Andrea, Guido, with the approval of the Municipal Council on 22 December 1986 and a notarial deed of 1988.

The castle, although stripped of all its rich furnishings (documented by inventories of 1691 and 1854), after various passages in hands that were not always respectful, arrives structurally intact in the Municipality of Magliano. Even the most serious alteration (the construction, in the early 1960s, of apartments on the first floor, four in the west wing and one in the east wing) was fortunately reversible. It was, therefore, possible for the Municipality, in 2001, to remove partitions and slabs and restore the original premises, also bringing to light, in the west wing, the vaults, which present varied architectural forms and traces of ancient colours worthy of restoration.


The Hall of Coat of Arms

Among the numerous rooms inside the structure, the Hall of Coat of Arms stands out for its importance and grandeur. The hall occupies the central tower of the castle, is covered with a pavilion vault where it is possible to admire a high relief plaster decoration – a Baroque phenomenon of great importance widespread in  Piedmont cities between the 17th and 18th centuries.

The painter’s fillings works reproduce the coats of arms of the Alfieri family combined with the coats of arms of other noble families related to it by marriage. At the four corners of the vault, you can see the eagle of the Alfieri house with the mottos “Tort ne dure” (“the offence does not last”, referring to the tragic story of Catalano Alfieri) and “Hostili tincta cruore” (“bathed in blood enemy”, probably referring to the sign). In the center is the great coat of arms of the Alfieri of Magliano surmounted by the Marquis crown. Then inserted inside a modulated painter’s filling frame we can see the gigantic eagle wrapped in scrolls and festoons with fruit and with the mottos “tort ne dure” and “fert” (fides erit robur tua, “faith will be your power”).


The Noble Chapel

The chapel is located on the east side of the castle, is dedicated to the Holy Crucifix and is also remembered as the Oratory of the Holy Shroud. Its construction dates back to the second half of the 18th century. Vittorio Alfieri’s mother, who married an Alfieri of Magliano in her third marriage, wanted the consecration of the chapel to be able to take communion during her stays in the castle.

“(…) I will go (…) to see my mother and take the blessing in the Magliano chapel, since I let her have permission from the Pope to keep the “Most Holy” there; grace so that my mother does not fall into her skin with joy” [From a letter  Vittorio Alfieri’s letter to Luisa Alfieri of Sostegno, May 1783].

Beyond the sandstone portal, you enter the oratory with a rectangular plan, a single nave, with a circular opening containing the baroque altar in imitation marble and painter’s filling. The frescoes, made with perspectives of great architectural effect, tromp l’oeil, for their artistic quality refer to a high-level personality and the three large canvases representing episodes from the life of Christ (The Crucifixion, The dinner in the house of Simone the leper and of Christ (The Crucifixion, The Supper in the House of Simon the Leper and The Resurrection of Lazarus) are attributable to the famous  painter Pier Paolo Operti from the town of Bra; the canvases were restored in Aramengo, in Nicola’s famous workshop and brought back to the chapel at the end of September 2006.