From monastery to hunting lodge

This castle, which was originally a Carthusian monastery, was acquired by the House of Savoy and turned into a hunting lodge by Carlo Alberto. The project masterfully combined the simplicity of a former convent and the monumental style suitable for a royal residence.

The castle was never a main residence, however, but a place for private leisure: this is where Vittorio Emanuele II, the “hunter king”, held his great hunts, and princess Maria Clotilde spent her summers. Even today, glimpses of life at court can be found in the bedchambers, which maintain their original furnishings, as well as in the king’s kitchens.
Even though the Castle of Valcasotto is not part of the World Heritage Site, it is part of the Royal Residences of the House of Savoy in Piedmont.

In 1837 Carlo Alberto was enchanted by the atmosphere of peace and tranquillity that surrounded the ancient Certosa di Casotto. He decided to purchase it as his personal heritage to transform it into a summer residence dedicated to hunting, one of the favourite pastimes of the House of Savoy.
The abbey complex, nestled at the foot of the Monregalese mountains between Garessio and Pamparato, was founded by the Carthusian monks between 1090 and 1172. At the beginning of the eighteenth century, it underwent some important renovations which gave it a rigorous and monumental appearance, more similar to a noble palace than a monastery. The façade of the church, designed by Bernardo Vittone around the middle of the century, is full of charm and was made of local green stone, in stark contrast to the red bricks of the rest of the building. Around the church, between two courtyards, there were the monks’ cells and the guesthouse. The abandonment of the Carthusian Monastery after the suppression of the monastic order by the French government (1802) made it necessary to carry out adaptation works to accommodate the court of Charles Albert. Also the ancient church was re-adapted to be used as a royal chapel. By 1860 architect Carlo Sada and his team of painters (Dionigi Faconti and Angelo Moja), decorators (Giuseppe Trivella and Carlo Isella) and carvers (Gabriele Capello) set up the new royal apartments left behind in the ancient rooms used by the Carthusians which had an intimate and domestic atmosphere, far from the splendour of state homes. In these rooms the most everyday-life side of the royal family can be discovered.
In addition to Charles Albert, the residence was particularly loved by the first king of Italy, Vittorio Emanuele II, and his children, in particular Princess Maria Clotilde, who chose the quietness of Casotto to spend her summers.
The residence was owned by the Savoy family until 1881, then it was sold to private individuals. It has been the subject of study campaigns promoted by the Polytechnic of Turin. In 2000 it became part of the heritage of the Piedmont Region which, together with the Superintendence, began its complete recovery to allocate it for museum, educational and hospitality use according to innovative sustainability and eco-compatibility.
Garessio (CN)
Open from spring to autumn by reservation
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