Castello di Tagliolo
Tagliolo Monferrato had a strategic position on the old Salt Road and was indeed an outpost at the time of the Saracen invasions. The word Tagliolo derives from the deforestation that took place in order to allow agricultural activity. The land was given by Emperor Ottone I to the Aleramo after which feudal rights passed to the noble families of the Bosco, the Malaspina and the Sforza. It then came under the control of the Republic of Genoa who held it right up to 1760 when the House of Savoy bequeathed it to the Pinelli Gentile, the family who are the current owners. The castle is built on the top of a hill with a complex architectural layout inside a wall which forms part of the actual castle itself, with a series of connected towers and buildings together with a number of old houses, the church, and the buildings like the Agenzia (originally used for the management of the land and the crops and now used by the wardens) and the Bigatteria, used for breeding silkworms. This is effectively a fortified village with three distinct phases of construction. The oldest part dates back to the middle part of the 13th century and is made up principally of the central tower which forms the most imposing part of the castle, the second phase comes from the 1400s with the building of the gateway (in effect the tower which incorporates the entranceway) and the completion of the buildings on the south side. The other important building works, before the renovation work undertaken by D’Andrade and the restoration of the upper part of the central tower in the 1930s, were carried out between 1600 and 1700 when the castle was deemed to have fulfilled its purpose as a military stronghold and was turned into a gentleman’s residence. The castle in an architectural sense is extremely interesting and attractive with pleasing contrasts between built-up sections and open areas, with a layout that is at times uniform and then haphazard, buildings that vary both in size and height and a two-coloured effect in the walls provided by the incorporation of both stone and brick sections. The main house is well laid-out and the interior is suitably distinguished with decorated rooms, fine furniture, a library, a collection of weapons and ample cellars.