Piedmont is famous not only for beautiful landscapes, fabulous food and great wines, but also for many royal residences left by the Savoy dynasty. The castle of Aglie’, situated in Canavese region, in the north of Piedmont, is an example.
It was a beautiful autumnal sunny day when I decided to go there. The temperature reached pleasant 15 °C and the castle park looked magnificent with orange, yellow and red leaves. Aglie’ appeared sleepy, nestled in surrounding mountains and the only vivid place in the town was the residence.
The castle tour took us 1,5 h and it was leading through the rooms available on this day (the part of 300 royal apartments). I visited the library with rich collection of German and French literature, Chinas room decorated with souvenirs brought from overseas voyages by Tommaso di Genova, a traveler, one of the castle owners. But what I remembered the most was a Teatrino, arranged by the king Carlo Felice. The monarch didn’t want to deprive himself of pleasure watching theater performances during summer holidays and he ordered to build a small scene and auditorium form himself, his family and friends.
The castle history started in the 12th century, but due to numerous reconstruction not much remained from its original construction. Between 1646 and 1657 the first modification transformed medieval country house into a summer residence. At this time the characteristic garden site facade was built (at a picture above). About 100 years later it was bought by Carlo Emanuele III and from this moment till 1939 belonged to the Savoy family. In the 18th century the residence was expanded and gained beautiful fontain Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (it symbolizes 4 rivers in Canavese region: Dora, Orco, Malone and Tritoni), the masterpiece of brothers Filippi and Ignazio Collino. In 1825 Carlo Felice and his wife redecorated the rooms, arranged Teatrino and their collection of ancient sculpture we can today admire in Sala Tuscolana. From the mid of the 19th century the castle gained modern facilities like bathrooms and stoves and the park took the English style (between 1830 and 1840): antique columns, romantic small houses and rustic bridges.
Thanks to several maintenance works, well preserved furniture and decorations, relatively modern looking bathrooms, I had the impression that the owners had moved out lately. In Italy the residence of Aglie’ became popular at the beginning of 2000 when the castle and its park and gardens was used as a scenery for a popular costume television series Elisa di Rivombrosa.
Let’s take a look on official museum web site (in Italian and English), when a virtual tour through several rooms and garden is available: http://www.ilcastellodiaglie.it/eng/index.htm