Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Fénis Castle

Fenis Castle is an Italian medieval castle located in the town of Fénis. (Funny how that works...) It is one of the most famous castles in Aosta Valley, and for its spectacular architecture and its many towers and battlemented (Yes, it is a real word.) a walls has become one of the major tourist attractions of the region.

The castle first appears in a document in 1242 A.D. as a property of the Viscounts of Aosta, the Challant family. At that time it probably was a simple keep surrounded by walls. It was from 1320 A.D. to 1420 A.D., under the lordship of Aimone of Challant and of his son Bonifacio of Challant, that the castle expanded to the actual appearance.

Under Aimone’s lordship the castle got its pentagonal layout, the external boundary wall and many of the towers. In 1392 Bonifacio of Challant began a second building campaign to build the staircase and the balconies in the inner courtyard and the prison. He also commissioned Piedmontese painter Giacomo Jaqueiro to paint frescoes on the chapel and on the inner courtyard. Under Bonifacio I the castle reached its greatest splendor: it was a rich court surrounded by a vegetable plot, a vineyard and a garden where the lord and his guests could relax.

The castle belonged to the lords of Challant until 1716, when Georges François of Challant had to sell it to Count Baldassarre Castellar of Saluzzo Paesana (*Snicker*) in order to pay his debts, and for the castle was the beginning of a period of decline. It was turned into a rural dwelling and became a stable and a barn.

In 1895 architect Alfredo d’Andrade purchased it and started a restoration campaign to secure the damaged structures. In 1935 a second campaign by De Vecchi and Mesturino completed the restoration and gave the castle the current appearance. The rooms were also provided with wood period furniture.

The castle is today owned by the Regional Council, which turned it into a museum.

Buon giorno


Anne said...

It looks like such a quintessential mid-evil castle, I keep expecting to see a beautiful lady peering over the wall waiting for her knight! :)

Julie said...

Oh, Yes! It does indeed! :)

Anonymous said...

I love the split-and-curved things on the tops of the walls!! (Very technical description, I know.) Gorgeous!

~ A.K. ~

Julie said...

:D Very technical... :)

And yeah, they are pretty cool! :)