Located in the Emilia Romagna region, this building is a fascinating example of a 14th-century castle, with annexed English-style gardens for flowers, herbs, and vegetables. The history of this place is partly shrouded in mystery, as there aren’t many exact sources pointing to the exact origins of the castle. What we do know is that Galeazzo Pepoli built the oldest tower in the second half of the 14th century. Pepoli was a local “Condottiero” who was notable for his role in defending Pope Urbano VI from the Bretons, who wanted to push for a different pope favorable to their agenda. Following a life in arms, Pepoli decided to retire with his wife, so he had this tower built. The castle was progressively expanded over the span of the centuries and was eventually purchased by Alessandro Falzoni Gallerani in 1870. The latter was an art lover who decided to turn the castle and the surrounding acreage into a holiday home for his family. The castle survived the centuries in remarkable conditions, particularly due to the great care of the owners in continually overseeing such a priceless, timeless place. Sadly, a 5.9 magnitude earthquake in 2012 destroyed most of the castle.
The tower is surrounded by woodland, as well as the aforementioned gardens, which adorn the area adjacent to the castle. The top of the tower was still accessible before the earthquake, and it was indeed possible to climb it to enjoy a breathtaking view of the vast countryside around the building. On a good, clear day, it was even possible to see the mountains south and north of the castle, pretty far out and almost getting lost in the vast horizon. The 2012 earthquake damaged the castle extensively, but some of its rooms and features are still somewhat accessible, including several converted guest rooms, a kitchen, a library, and the main entrance hall. The library, in particular, was home to various rare books, and it was expanded significantly throughout the years, including in recent times, since the castle hosted many cultural initiatives and other events.
The castle still lies in disrepair, and while it is still owned by a private party, it does not seem that there any plans in sight to restore the castle, the gardens, or its surrounding structures even if about almost a decade has gone by since the earthquakes of May 2012. In addition to that, there aren’t many sources detailing the expansion of the castle and its history in the centuries between its founding and the 1870 purchase by Alessandro Falzoni Gallerani and his family, making it difficult to trace back other relevant moments in its history. While the original tower remains the oldest-known section of the castle, later additions date back to the 16th century, and there are still many exciting relics of that era, including the wonderful stained glass doors, as well as marble floors, and various other amenities. From exposed wood to terra-cotta tiles, the building still bears exposed traces of its past. The castle had been abandoned for several decades, but by 2003, it was rented to a cultural association, breathing new life into the premises. The 2012 earthquake put a stop to all that but the memory of the castle’s long-lasting history.
Earthquakes tend to happen fairly frequently throughout the center of Italy, and unfortunately, it is not always possible for local governments or private owners (such as in the case of the this castle) to allocate major funds to the restoration of such buildings, in spite of their enormous cultural value.