Emilia Romagna Castles

Castello di Montecuccolo

Montecuccolo Castle with its medieval village is located in Emilia at the crossroads of the main roads connecting the Po Valley, through Frignano, to Tuscany. It rises in the locality of the same name, not far from Pavullo nel Frignano, on a rocky relief located at the southern end of a densely wooded ridge that wedges deeply into the valley of the Scoltenna-Panaro river. The castle occupied an exceptional strategic position, not the least reason for its historical importance, in an area of rare scenic beauty. The architectural layout is extremely interesting and corresponds to the classic typology of the medieval castle.

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In fact, the main tower is isolated at the highest point of the mountain, and the feudal palace is enlarged by successive buildings - always detached from the tower to guarantee extreme defence from the latter -, at the same time as three concentric walls converging on the donjon, until they embrace the entire summit of the mountain. This type of compartmentalised structure is common to other large castles in the nearby matildic chessboard: for example, the Castle of Canossa and the Castle of Carpineti, to which Montecuccolo is also linked for other typological and formal aspects. The building assumes a strongly directed linear development, consisting of five bodies strongly integrated with the courtyard-garden within the walls. The
layout of the Castle of Montecuccolo was then completed with the construction of the 'guardhouse' within the third wall and the consolidation of the fortified village below, arranged to form a fourth formidable circle of walls with the Church of San Lorenzo, built on the site of the ancient stables.
The construction material, almost exclusively stone - macigno sandstone - was used both for the stones of the walls and for the roof slabs, combined with wood for the instrumental
 warp of the floors and roof. Although the architecture is marked by criteria of the utmost essentiality and severity, in keeping with the type and age of the settlement, it is strongly characterised by a widespread and marked stonemasonry mastery, evident in the spiral staircase turret, in the workmanship of the portals, windows and opposing seats, in the gables of the splendid surviving fireplaces with coats of arms embossed from the stone. Through the work of the Municipality, now owner of the Castle, the project for the activation of the guest quarters, where the Locanda del Condottiero is located, right between the Castle Walls, has been completed. The five rooms created, the condottiero's room, the count's room, the Anna Bigi room, the Regina Cristina room and the children's room represent the ideal spaces for breathing the magic of history, reliving a unique atmosphere, amidst original and unique environments, consistent and respectful of the environment while providing every comfort. In the rooms of the old guest quarters it is possible to relax, taste typical local products, learn about traditional mountain dishes and the history of the Montecuccoli family.Together with the new fittings, with the permanent artistic collections - graphics and sculptures - "Il Paese ritrovato" by Gino Covili and "La Donazione" by Raffaele Biolchini, and with the "Ferruccio Minghelli" Naturalistic Museum of Frignano, the Castle offers itself to the public in a welcoming guise that proposes a cultural and tourist itinerary that combines art, history and discovery of the territory.The spaces dedicated to the Naturalistic Museum of Frignano are located on the second, third and fourth floors of the Montecuccolo Castle. The exhibition itinerary and furnishings enhance the naturalistic collection while also allowing visitors to enjoy the beauty of the castle's ancient rooms, which have been perfectly restored. The splendid panorama of woods and valleys that can be admired from the windows, then, constitutes a sort of natural 'diorama' that contributes not only visually but also emotionally to the enhancement of the collections on display. On the second floor there is a room dedicated to Earth Sciences. Here, it is possible to observe samples of rocks, minerals and fossils from the Frignano territory. Going up to the third floor we find the first room dedicated to Botany and Zoology, where animals and plants living up to 800 metres are exhibited. Two large showcases are dedicated to the fauna of the hill territory, in which the animals are "set" thanks to backlit photographic panels. One can admire typical animals of our territory such as the squirrel, the dormouse, the badger, the owl and many others. On the botanical side, the xylotheque collects the woods of the most representative tree species, while special herbarium-drawers protect and display perfectly preserved botanical specimens. The entomological collection is also located on this floor: it consists of several insect boxes arranged inside a large showcase that enhances its contents.
On the fourth and last floor we find the second room dedicated to Botany and Zoology, where animals and plants characteristic of the highest altitudes, from 800 to over 2,000 metres above sea level, are
exhibited. The xylotheque and the herbarium-drawers display samples of the botanical species characteristic of this altitudinal range.At Montecuccolo Castle it is possible to take two types of guided tours:1) the first tour includes a historical illustration of the fortress, the general contents of the Montecuccolo Museum Centre (CeM) and any temporarily set up exhibition.2) the second is a didactic visit to the "Ferruccio Minghelli" Frignano Natural History Museum, dedicated to primary and secondary schools.On days when the castle is closed, visits are possible for groups and school parties with compulsory booking.


Castello di Montecuccolo - Castello di Montecuccolo photo credits: |Simona Negrini| - Archivio fotografico Comune di Pavullo, uff. Cultura