Castello di Rocca Grimalda
The village of Rocca Grimalda was built on a rocky promontory, its castle being in a strategically-important position both because it was easily defended and also because it could control the road between the pass of Ovada and the plain of Lombardy particularly in the periods when there was much conflict between Monferrato and Liguria. This old building retains the genuine aspect of a ‘rock’ reflected in the name of the village, and the tower very much dominates the castle. The construction of the castle took place at differing times with the tower probably being the oldest part and this may be dated between the 12th and 13th centuries when the settlement was under the control of the Marquesses of Monferrato. The tower is without battlements which were perhaps covered up by the addition of a roof. There are few windows and even these are effectively just slits, the only decoration being the slightly jutting blind arches on the upper part of the tower which lend it a flared aspect. Inside there are five floors connected by a steep spiral staircase dug out of the wall and illuminated only by the slit windows. There are some reasons to think that a few of the rooms were used as cells. Around this central tower over the centuries a number of additions to the castle were constructed in a seemingly haphazard fashion. Their frontages are from the 1500-1600s and these include the round towers on the corners of the castle, whilst the garden is from the second half of the 18th century being typically baroque with a secret garden, a renaissance garden and a romantic small grouping of trees.