Vallaise Castle

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This castle stands in the centre of the hill overlooking Arnad, above the hamlet of Ville. It was the most sumptuous home of the Vallaise family, who built it in the XVII century. The appearance is that of a patrician villa but one can observe the presence of seven crenellated towers arranged at the corners of a vast courtyard to the west, and a smaller command area to the east, together with terraces around the castle that suggest the presence of original external walls.

There are many striking decorative elements such as a carved stone portal, several frescoes and an external chapel. In particular, in the hall of honour and in one of the bedrooms, the castle is portrayed in different views: in the first hall, the picture was taken from a southern point of view and shows the long gallery that leads to the Costa stronghold; in the bedroom, there a painting taken from a frontal point of view.

Another interesting element in the rooms on the first floor is the reference to female epic, as suggested by the tales of the biblical heroines Hagar and Tamar, and the strong female characters who dominate the whole gallery. Together with the upper castle and “Casaforte della Costa” (“Casaforte” means “an ancient fortified mansion of the medieval period”), this fortress, also known as “Costetta”, used to be at the summit of a triangular fortified system north of the town.

The current appearance and its furnishings date back to the works by Alessandro Vallaise, who died in 1823 – he was the most illustrious character of his family and the Foreign Minister at the court of King Vittorio Emanuele I of Sardinia. Vallaise transformed the castle into a holiday residence.

The last descendant of the Vallaise family who lived there died in 1852; in the meantime (1848), the castle had already been sold to the merchant Giacomo Giacobini from Turin, who paid for the last restoration work. The fortress eventually became a property of the De Bernardi family, who, in turn, gave it to Valle d’Aosta Region. Major restoration works are currently being planned, to turn the castle into a museum facility.

This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)


Frazione Closè 1 - Arnad(AO)

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