A Brief Guide to Enjoying the Visit to the Savoy Residence in Roero
Are you in Roero and eager to explore its most beautiful places? Read on to discover the wonders you can admire during a visit to the Govone Castle!
Ascending the Tanaro Valley, which separates Roero from the Langhe, you’ll catch a glimpse of Govone Castle perched high above. Its medieval location was strategically chosen to oversee the surrounding territory, acting as a border between the territories of Asti and Alba. Its history dates back to before the year 1000 when a fortress with bastions was constructed. In the late 17th century, the Solaro Counts decided to transform it into a residence, adhering to the aesthetics of the time. Renowned architect Guarino Guarini was tasked with the project, making it one of the most beautiful Piedmontese residences. To be precise, Guarini did not witness the project’s completion. About a century later, Benedetto Alfieri took charge, bringing some obvious variations to the original plans.
In the late 1700s, the Savoys became the owners, and in the 1800s, on the request of King Carlo Felice and his wife Cristina, the castle underwent a complete renovation. Along with the renovation, a luxurious Italian-style garden overlooking the valley below was added.
Since 1997, Govone Castle has been included in the UNESCO sites, along with other Savoy residences.
Before delving into the description of the castle, let’s provide some helpful information to enhance your visit.
At the base of the castle hill, there is ample parking for those arriving by car, with a short uphill trail leading to the entrance. For visitors with mobility challenges, it’s possible to be driven to the entrance by car. Unfortunately, the interiors are not yet accessible for individuals with disabilities due to architectural barriers (internal staircases) that cannot be overcome by elevators or stairlifts. However, the park and garden do not pose these problems, allowing everyone to enjoy the visit.
The castle is open from March to December, from Friday to Sunday, between 10 AM to 12 PM and 3 PM to 6 PM. The ticket prices are €5 for adults, €4 for those over 65, and free for children under 14. For other discounts and free admissions, please check here.
For more detailed information during your visit, we recommend downloading the castle’s app from Google Play and the App Store. By scanning the various QR codes on the explanatory panels in each room, you can listen to explanations for each room. It’s a free and user-friendly audio guide.
Visit to Govone Castle: The Exterior and Gardens
Before entering, a visit to Govone Castle begins with the admiration of its baroque façade. It welcomes you, flanked by two brick antechambers, featuring an elegant four-ramp marble staircase beautifully adorned. Supporting it are two imposing telamons, brought from the Reggia di Venaria to further embellish the castle.
Surrounding the structure, you’ll find an English-style park and a beautiful hanging garden. The park was created at the behest of King Carlo Felice, following the fashion of the time, which favored the free use of plants and natural elements without geometric patterns. This space offers exceptional colors and scents throughout the year. First, tulips and periwinkles in spring, followed by the lush greenery of horse chestnuts, oaks, and plane trees in summer, and finally, their autumn foliage. A true spectacle.
The hanging garden, on the other hand, predates the park and is adorned with a series of boxwood hedges and pathways leading to a central fountain. From the garden, you can admire a splendid panorama of the Langhe and the Tanaro Valley.
Visit to Govone Castle: The Royal Apartments
The actual visit to Govone Castle begins when you pass through the entrance gate and ascend the stairs. You’ll arrive at the Galleria del Priore, which serves as the antechamber to the Royal Apartments. Why do we talk about apartments, not a singular apartment? It’s important to know that noble families often had separate apartments for husbands and wives, and the same applies here. These apartments consist of the State Room, Audience Room, Bedroom, and private service areas.
In both, you can admire beautiful mythological-themed frescoes painted by Andrea Piazza and Carlo Pagani, along with surviving period furniture. One curious detail is the direct door connecting the Queen’s Apartments and the King’s Apartments, opening directly into the King’s bedroom.
Visit to Govone Castle: The Hall of Honor
The Hall of Honor was the most significant room in the castle, evident from its central location on the noble floor plan. The room is quite spacious, further enhanced by exquisite trompe-l’oeil decorations portraying faux colonnades and statues of classical inspiration. Among these architectural illusions, the myth of Niobe, punished by the gods for her excessive pride, is narrated.
However, what catches the eye is the vault fresco depicting Olympus, featuring Latona and her children, Apollo and Diana. The choice of this theme was directly made by King Carlo Felice, who, during a trip to Florence, was enchanted by a sculptural group depicting the three characters.
The decorations of the hall are the work of painters Luigi Vacca and Fabrizio Sevesi in the 1820s.
The Chinese Rooms
In the visit to Govone Castle, the Chinese Rooms remain at the end but are likely the highlight. These rooms are truly spectacular and are worth the ticket price alone. These chambers were designed to host visiting princes and princesses and follow the fashion of the time, which was greatly influenced by oriental and exotic themes. Many noble palaces often feature reproductions of Chinese wallpapers, but here, you can admire originals from the Far East, decorated by Chinese artists.
Particularly interesting and rare to see in the West are the four cycles illustrating the processes of China’s most famous products: silk, tea, porcelain, and rice. The various scenes set against genre backgrounds are meticulously detailed, explaining the various stages of production of these four symbolically important products from the East.
Also noteworthy are the representations of flowers and birds in the Parade Room and the Cabinet.
Now that you have an idea of what you can see, all that’s left is to choose the day for your visit to Govone Castle.