The Castle of Torrechiara

Around the city of Parma, in the same hills where they produce famous wines, cheeses and hams, are littered a series of wonderful castles that demand the traveler’s attention. The best preserved one is called Castle of Torrechiara.

Torrechiara is a small town located 18 kilometers from Parma and close to Langhirano, home of the “Crudo di Parma” and “anteroom” of the Apennine mountains. Originally the village was called “Torciara” because of the main activity that took place there: the “pressing” of the olives to produce oil.

On top of the hill, dominating the houses and the vast countryside, stands proudly the Castle of Torrechiara, one of the famous “castles of the Duchy“.

Castello di Torrechiara

Fonte: turismoebenessere.it

Each of these ancient medieval castles worth a visit: there is the Fortress of Sanvitale in Fontanellato, which houses a masterpiece of Parmigianino, and the only optics room working in Italy; the Soragna Fortress, which even today resides the last descendant of one of the most noble and ancient families of Italy: the Meli Lupi; Colorno, an outstanding example of a royal residence surrounded by a beautiful French garden. Just to mention a few.

Among them, Torrechiara Castle is one of the most fascinating and “romantic”: the castle is famous for having been the home of the love story between Pier Maria de’ Rossi and his lover, Bianca Pellegrini.

Castello di Torrechiara

Fonte: advicetotravel.com

In fact the castle of Torrechiara, although massive, does not possess the harsh and militaristic traits of other fortresses; this is because it is actually an elegant and refined residence, only “disguised” as a fortress. The real reason that drives Pier Maria Rossi to build the castle (the thirtieth in its possession, to be precise) is to host the meetings with the beautiful lover: both of which were married, and then forced, to see each other, to make clandestine “trips”.

Hence the fairytale atmosphere of the place, whose scenic charm has been noticed abroad: in 1985, the American director Richard Donner set here his film “Ladyhawke“, a story of love and magic set in the Middle Ages and starring the Hollywood stars Rutger Hauer, Michelle Pfiffer and Matthew Broderick.

Ladyhawke

Immagine tratta dal film “Ladyhawke”

After all, if you exceed the three defensive curtains and proceed inside the castle, exquisite decor of the rooms reveal the true identity of the fortress: the magnificent private room of Bianca Pellegrini, known as “Golden Room” contains a cycle of frescoes by Benedetto Bembo, a painter of Brescia in vogue in those days, and the vault of the Oratory of St. Nicomedes was decorated by Cesare Baglione, with a series of frescos representing, in refined “manieristic” forms, fantasy landscapes, mythological figures and grotesque.

Castello di Torrechiara

Fonte: favoledellabotte.blogspot.it

Camera d'Oro Castello Torrechiara

Fonte: wikipedia.org

Precisely the oratory, due to the damage caused by the earthquake of 23 December 2008, has long been closed to tourists, but today, thanks to the intervention of the Superintendence for Architectural Heritage and Landscape of Parma and Piacenza, is again open to the public.

From the two large balconies that open onto the east side we access to the “belvedere”, from which we can extend the view along the Apennine ridge to Mount Cusna. The apartments overlook a large courtyard Renaissance, which resembles the one of a stately building of the city.

Cortile d'Onore Castello di Torrechiara

Fonte: favoledellabotte.blogspot.it

Besides the wonderful castle, Torrechiara offers much more to its visitors: first of all the abbey of St. Mary of the Snow, famous for the beekeeping laboratory and honey-based cosmetics that are produced there. Then we report the “Torrechiara Festival”, a music review which since 2005 has been dedicated to Renata Tebaldi, one of the greatest Italian soprano, who Arturo Toscanini called “Voice of an angel.”

Finally, for those wishing to spend a few hours of pleasure while enjoying a craft beer tasting and excellent hams of our land, remember that at the town’s entrance there is the brewery “Panil”: every year in early September organizes the “Panil Day”, a big party with rivers of beer, cake and fried meats, homemade desserts, live music … all in the green courtyard of the brewery, surrounded by vineyards and barrels full of great beer.

Panil Torrechiara birrificio

Fonte: mangiotipico.it



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