For ten centuries the residence of the Valperga Counts, Masino castle – surrounded originally by walls and towers – is set in a monumental, romantic park dominating the Canavese plains.
The interiors, with the halls frescoed and richly furnished in the 1600s-1700s, the Madama Reale apartments, the bedrooms for ambassadors and the separate salons all document the vicissitudes of a family that was one of the protagonists in the history of Piedmont and Italy itself. The nearby Palazzo delle Carrozze boasts a superb collection of coaches of the XVIII and XIX centuries.
Masino Castle: The Park
Just like the castle, the park itself also underwent changes over the centuries. In the XVIII century, the gardens that surrounded the castle south-east and west were designed in accordance with a classic geometrical outline that combined the Renaissance forms of Italian gardens with the decorative embellishments of French gardens. The present day configuration derives from the English Garden re-arrangement dating from the first half of the 1800s that involved the development of the “22 turn road” that descends through the woods towards Strambino.
Masino Castle: The Red Salon
The settings in the more than thirty monumental rooms in castle are still today the result of the “sedimentation” of cultural testimony and taste over the centuries: an exceptional example for such a residence today open to the public. The red salon – with its damasks, collection of miniatures, 1600s portraits of “fine ladies” in the splendid oval cornices, comfortable yet sooty velvet armchairs around a small reproduction table, the pompous consoles and superb porcelain – is one of the most evident examples of the atmosphere found and conserved by FAI at Masino.
Masino Castle: The Ballroom
The ballroom in the large, round keep is one of the most fascinating settings in the castle, thanks to the light through the large windows overlooking the green park, the broad, Arcadian landscapes frescoed around 1730 creating illusions with the fluttering curtains and the dome alternating pillars and open windows. The very high ceiling has a huge chandelier in Bohemian crystal. The rather limited furniture includes: the fine 1700s benches and the small Lombard gaming tables in the Maggiolini style.
Masino Castle: The Billiards Room
Dominated by the huge 1800s billiards table with its fine cue-holders and scoreboard set off by a series of games played to pass pleasant hours of “villa life”, the billiards hall as frescoed around the mid-1600s with a taste that, even in terms of colour and subjects, recalls the mannerist culture. Huge medallions depicting famous battles alternate with allegorical figures of the virtues in the form of caryatids; beneath the medallions, pairs of slaves with exotic features and appearances hold shields with the “deeds” of the Valperga family, whose large coat-of-arms dominates the ceiling.
Masino Castle: The Madama Reale apartment
Maria Giovanna Battista di Savoia, regent for here son Vittorio Amedeo II from 1675, was often a guest of Francesco I Masino who prepared the small “Madama Reale” apartment for her in the castle. The antechamber and the bed chamber were refurnished around the mid-1700s and lined with precious “papiers peints” in the Chinese style similar to those chosen by the Savoia for Aglio’ and Racconigi castles. The pompous baldachin bed, the armchairs and the curtains still today retain the precious, rare and very fragile “china” silk dating from around the 1870s.
Courtesy of FAI Fondo Ambiente Italiano