Immersed in the greenery of beautiful Emilia, the thousand-year-old Castello di Scipione dei Marchesi Pallavicino, the oldest castle in the province of Parma, stands in the hills of great scenic value on the border between Parma and Piacenza, in a charming medieval village 2 km from Salsomaggiore Terme.
It dominates the Stirone Regional Park, a large protected natural area.
Built before 1025 by the legendary Adalberto Pallavicino, a daring condottiere whose praises were
sung by Torquato Tasso and Ludovico Ariosto, the castle is still inhabited by his direct descendants. The Castle,
which can be visited, preserves in its furnished halls, wooden coffered ceilings with 15th and 17th century decorations, frescoes and fireplaces from the same period.
Inside the Castle, two charming suites are available for guests to sleep in. In the Borgo, a restaurant serves excellent local dishes. In addition to guided tours, the Castle also hosts private
events, weddings, company meetings and vintage car rallies.
Scipione Castle has the peculiarity of still retaining its original structure, with the ancient entrance to the keep that was protected by a drawbridge. Shortly after the middle of the 13th century, the castle already showed not only military connotations, but also that of a residence with important rooms with representative functions. Important changes were implemented in 1447 by the brothers Lodovico and Giovanni Pallavicino to adapt the Castle to the new defensive requirements. The imposing cylindrical tower, less vulnerable to artillery fire, dates back to this period, as do the reinforced scarp walls. In the 17th century, further work gave the castle the appearance of a refined aristocratic residence. In the furnished rooms, one can admire the precious ornate coffered ceilings, frescoes and splendid fireplaces with the marquis coat of arms dating back to the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries. Among the rooms that can be visited, the 'Devil's Drawing Room' stands out, with frescoes from the 16th and 18th centuries, with large trompe l'oeuil scenes where, amidst verdant landscapes inspired by the surrounding hills, the Scipione Castle itself is also depicted. The small door that opens onto the castle's main secret passage is suggestive; the rooms of the north wing with the large 17th-century hall and its fireplace with a sumptuous Baroque stucco decoration, featuring masks and plant elements, framing a scene of putti playing with a balancing board, and in the adjoining room a rare 15th-century panel ceiling depicting the heraldic and matrimonial feats of the Pallavicino family and the wooden ceiling portraits of Lodovico Pallavicino and his wife Antonia Secco di Caravaggio.
Impressive is the imperial table set 'Russian style' with a refined 19th-century family service, silver porcelain and cutlery with the family crest and precious Bohemian crystal glasses. The 17th-century loggia, unique in the area, runs in a play of perspectives and openings on two sides of the terrace and its windows open like stage wings onto an unmissable hilly landscape in perspective flight. The castle is also surrounded by a large garden whose walls are partly embattled in the Ghibelline style. Other green spaces include the courtyard of honour with its 17th-century portal and, at the bottom of the horse staircase, the secret garden.
The Castello di Scipione dei Marchesi Pallavicino is part of the circuit of the Castles of the Duchy of Parma, Piacenza and Pontremoli.