Redolfi-Castemur Palace and Garden

This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)

Palazzo Redolfi Castemur is in Cotura, Val Bregaglia, in Switzerland, not far from the Italian border. It is a patrician house built by Giovanni Redolfi in 1723. Baron Giovanni de Castelmur (1800-1871) enlarged the southern portion between 1850 and 1855. The Moorish style and the crenellated towers of this last section give the building the appearance of a castle. The building houses the historical archive of the valley.

De Castelmur came from an ancient lineage of the Val Bregaglia: his father, a pastry chef, had previously settled in Marseille, in his pastry shop; his mother was from Stampa. After school, De Castelmur studied political science and law and then opened a pastry shop in Nice.
Later on, and much wealthier, De Castelmur returned to Bregaglia, where, in 1840, he married his cousin Anna Castelmur of Vicosoprano (1813 – 1892). When he died, his widow became, in turn, an important patron of the valley. The couple did not have any children.

Castelmur Palace features a striking facade dominated by the Moorish-style tower, which can be clearly seen from the cantonal road. The interiors of the palace feature the typical Louis Philippe style; most of the rooms are located in the oldest part of the building or are decorated with varnished boards and tapestries. In the XIX century, there were used as the dining room, the living room, the bedrooms decorated in red and green and the four bedrooms in the tower. The walls and the ceilings of the representation rooms are decorated with frescoes and trompe-l’oeil paintings.

The Palace is surrounded by a garden enclosed by walls over 6.5 ft high. In the north-west corner of the garden, there is the Baroque section: built in the early 1700s, it features a geometric parterre formed by box hedges interspersed with topiary elements with a central stem and a crown. To the south, there’s the English garden completed in 1855.
The “cottage orné”-styled hut was added in the mid-XIX century, when the most important trees of exotic origin were also planted, including Thuja occidentalis, Thuja orientalis, Gingko biloba, Cryptomeria japonica, tall Chaenomeles speciosa, and Styphnolobium japonicum (Sophora japonica “Pendulum”).

Today, the building belongs to the Municipality of Bregaglia. In 1961, it became a public property, purchased by the last heir of the Castelmur family. Today, the palace with its garden is open to the public in the summer months.
The house has been transformed into a museum with a permanent exhibition on the emigration of Swiss pastry chefs. On the second floor, there is the historical archive, offering a comprehensive collection of thoroughly catalogued documents about the families of Val Bregaglia.

More things to see:

In nearby Stampa, the “Ciasa Granda” is absolutely worth visiting; it’s a valley heritage museum inside a patrician house built in 1581, which offers a wealth of information about the flora, fauna and geology of the surrounding area and its population.
Some works of the famous artists Giacometti and Varlin are also exhibited in the dedicated section of the museum.
A little further upstream of Stampa, at 3.370 ft of altitude, there’s the village of Borgonovo. Along its main street, several old houses from the XVII and XVIII centuries are lined up, interspersed with small gardens and traditional stalls.

From the old stone bridge with two arches, visitors can admire the church of Saint George, rebuilt in 1694. The interior is embellished with a colourful stained-glass window by Augusto Giacometti, over the choir. The remains of Giovanni, Augusto and Alberto Giacometti rest in the adjacent cemetery.

This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)


Coltura - 7605 Stampa()

Ufficio del Tursimo Val Bregaglia Stampa +41 81 822 15 55

Altre info

Il giardino è sempre aperto; il castello-museo dal 1 giugno al 20 ottobre

dal 15 giugno al 15 settembre il castello è aperto dalle 11 alle 17; dal 1 al 15 giugno e dal 16 al 20 settembre dalle 14 alle 17.

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