Leisure times amid frescoes and gardens

This medieval fortress was rebuilt in its current Baroque form by the counts of Solaro following Guarino Guarini’s designs. In the 18th century, its façades were decorated with the impressive statues brought from the Reggia di Venaria, and its interiors were furnished with precious Chinese carpets bought in the Far East.
It was acquired by the House of Savoy in the late 18th century and selected by Carlo Felice as his summer residence. The king had its interiors redecorated with spectacular frescoes and splendid trompe-l’oeils, such as the mythological ones in the main hall. The Castle of Govone is also famous for its 18th-century Italian-style garden, where many rose varieties grow, as well as a rare species of wild tulip.


The Castle, which dominates the pretty village of Govone from above and which offers a breathtaking view of the Alps, at the crossroads between the Langhe, Roero and Monferrato, is the ideal starting point for a trip into the countryside halfway between Asti and Alba.
Having existed since the 11th century, work on rebuilding the castle to a design by the famous architect Guarino Guarini began in 1678, commissioned by Roberto Solaro, ambassador of the Savoy family and Grand Prior of the Order of Malta, and his nephew Count Ottavio Francesco Solaro of Govone.
The majestic façade, characterised by a grand staircase comprising four flights of stairs built towards the end of the 18th century, was enriched with the impressive 17th-century sculptures from the dismantled Fountain of Hercules at the Reggia di Venaria, the Telamons by Giovanni Battista Casella and Carlo Pagano, and the four sketches of the terracotta military trophies, designed by Giovanni Baratta for Palazzo Madama, used to decorate the east façade.
In 1795, the Castle passed into the hands of the Savoy family, although shortly afterwards, during the French occupation, it was put up for auction. It was with the new purchase and return to Carlo Felice of Savoy and his consort Maria Cristina of Bourbon, who intended to use it as a summer residence, that the interiors were extensively renovated (1819-1825), starting with the scenographic hall of honour: a large trompe-l’œil space that illusionistically evokes classical temples, on whose walls and ceiling the Story of Niobe taken from Greek mythology is told. Ancient legends, frescoed by Carlo Pagani, Andrea Piazza, Luigi Vacca and Fabrizio Sevesi, were also chosen to decorate the ceilings of the rooms on the piano nobile, destined for Carlo Felice’s brother Vittorio Emanuele I, his wife Maria Teresa d’Asburgo-Este and the princes of Carignano. The grounds, with their romantic English garden designed by landscape architect Xavier Kurten, also date back to the 1820s.
Towards the end of the 19th century, the residence was purchased by the Tedeschi banking house and then by the Ovazza Segre family of Turin. In 1897, it became a point of reference for the people of Govona as it was included in the property of the municipality, which set up a school and public offices there. Most of the furnishings were auctioned off and bought in bulk by Andrea Massena, Prince of Essling, and can now be admired in the stylishly decorated rooms of the Villa Massena Museum in Nice.
Part of the building currently houses the town hall offices and the municipal library. The apartments on the piano nobile, including the Chinese cabinet characterised by vivid 18th century wallpaper depicting scenes of everyday life in China, the entrance hall and the Montesquieu apartment on the ground floor with its fine geometric and floral stucco decorations, are open to the public.


Piazza Roma, 1 – Govone (CN)
+39 371 4918587



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Four-legged friends