It was Count Adalberto Atto, great-grandfather of Matilda of Canossa, who built Rossena Castle in about 960. To fully understand the architecture of the place, it is necessary to point out that the entire castle of Rossena was part of a defensive structure that included various castles and towers in the area. The architecture of the place was artfully designed by the greatest experts in military strategy of the Middle Ages to make the fortress truly impregnable. In particular, the castle was built with the precise intention of becoming a stronghold to defend the structure of Canossa, the main seat of power, located about 2 kilometres away, the remains of which can be seen today on the cliff.
Two towers, still present and clearly visible today, were built in Rossena with the intention of being watchtowers. The Rossenella tower can now be reached by an easy footpath: it has been restored and made available for visits since 2007, while the one inside the Rossena Fortress can still be seen within the successive extensions of the structure. In
fact, several rooms were built that constitute the luxurious interiors of this magnificent property of the Diocese.
Rich in surprises and located in a partially isolated place, the charm of Rossena Castle is further enhanced by the presence of secret passages that are still unexplored.
After the death of Matilda of Canossa, the ancient castle passed from hand to hand among the leading members of the Italian and international nobility and aristocracy. Among the families that owned it were the Da Correggio family, who listed it in eulogistic terms in the inventory of their property. It passed in the 18th century to the influential Farnese family, dukes of Parma and Piacenza. After the fall of Napoleon, it was his consort Maria Luisa of Austria, Empress of France, who obtained ownership. In 1847 the castle of Rossena passed to the Duchy of Modena and Reggio Emilia, ruled by the Italian Este family. Put up for sale, in 1871 it was sold to Count Luigi Ratti Opizzoni and later, in the 20th century, to the Tirelli family.