Castello della Manta

Castello della Manta


Location: Saluzzo Map

Constructed: 12th century


Castello della Manta is situated in Saluzzo, Piedmont region of Italy. Although the stronghold was constructed in the 12th century it was reconstructed several times. Aristocratic family of Saluzzo della Manta, margraves of Saluzzo, reconstructed it several times turning it into a private residence. Its walls were decorated by Late Gothic paintings and new windows were cut through its defensive walls.



The structure of the castle is the result of aggregations subsequent to the original structure of the XII century. The building, transformed over time into a noble residence, began to take on its present appearance only at the beginning of the fifteenth century thanks to the work of the Saluzzo della Manta family, originating from Valerano, illegitimate son of the Marquis Tommaso III of Saluzzo. With the extinction of this branch of the house at the end of the 18th century, it was abandoned and fell into disrepair. From the Saluzzos it passed to the Radicatis, then to the Provanas and finally to the de Rege Thesauros. After the donation to the FAI, in 1984, the recovery and restoration works were started which brought the complex back to its original condition.



Pictorial cycles

There are numerous rooms that characterize it: in one room, inside a small niche, there is a fresco depicting a Madonna del Latte in which the Virgin Mary is depicted in the act of breastfeeding Jesus. The work dating back to the fifteenth century is the work by an anonymous painter. It is excluded that it could be the anonymous artist who frescoed the baronial hall.

The baronial hall preserves the most important pictorial cycle preserved in the castle. This is in fact enriched by an important sequence of frescoes that decorate the perimeter of the walls, a masterpiece and rare testimony of the late Gothic profane painting implemented in northern Italy. The work is attributed to the anonymous painter Maestro del Castello della Manta.

The cycle, completed shortly after 1420, represents a series of heroes and heroines (presumably with the features of the Marquises and Marquis of Saluzzo) - illustrated here according to the classical Jewish and Christian iconographic tradition and portrayed with precious clothes of the time - and the so-called Fountain of youth, a theme taken from the ancient tradition of medieval French novels. The aforementioned characters are inspired by a poem written by Thomas III of Saluzzo, the Chevalier Errant, and we have, in order, Hector, Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Joshua, David, Judas Maccabeus, King Arthur, Charlemagne, Godfrey of Bouillon , Deifile, Sinope, Ippolita, Semiramide, Etiope, Lampeto, Tomiri, Teuca, Penthesilea (all still clearly visible, except for the last heroine, who was mutilated by the collapse of the plaster).

An important testimony of the Mannerist art of the sixteenth century is instead given by the Hall of the grotesques, part of the representative apartment wanted around 1560 by Michele Antonio della Manta: it has a finely painted ceiling decorated with stuccos, grotesques, ancient ruins, Renaissance fruit of the typical culture of central Italy of the time.


Church of Santa Maria al Castello

Attached to the castle, the castle church can be visited, inside which two rooms of particular value are kept, which can also be traced back to the two most significant moments of the pictorial decoration that characterizes the entire manor.

Interesting frescoes on the life of Jesus Christ - dating back to the same period as the construction of the baronial hall of the castle - accompany the apse of the church, while the funeral chapel of Michelantonio shows a rich stucco decoration and paintings also in Mannerist style.