A kingly farm

It was Carlo Alberto who first understood the agricultural potential of Pollenzo. He created an impressive farm with vineyards and wine cellars, where winemaking techniques still used for the great red wines of Langhe were developed. Carlo Albert, with his Romantic vision, wanted to recreate medieval Pollenzo. He commissioned Xavier Kurten to design its gardens and refashion the town square, church, tower, and the Albertina farmhouse in the neo-Gothic style. Today, after careful and meticulous restoration, Pollenzo offers its visitors the Albergo dell’Agenzia (four-star hotel), the Garden, to taste typical local dishes and the great wines of lower Piedmont. The complex also houses the University of Gastronomic Sciences, with students arriving from all over the world, and the Wine Bank, a treasure chest with over 40,000 wines from all over Italy.

In 1833, King Carlo Alberto of Savoy-Carignano reclaimed the ancient Roman village of Pollenzo, a hamlet of Bra, in 1833 to establish his own farm with farmsteads, vineyards and cellars in the heart of the Langhe and Roero districts. The complex was designed by architect Ernesto Melano and multi-talented artist Pelagio Palagi, who indulged the sovereign’s neo-Gothic taste by elaborating an evocative ideal city in neo-medieval style. Carlo Alberto entrusted the renowned landscape architect Xavier Kurtenor with the design of the vast English-style grounds, embellished by an artificial lake fed by the River Tanaro.
The complex organisation included a main structure called the Agenzia, characterised on either side by an impressive crenelated tower and centre of the estate’s management, and a large farmhouse called the Albertina. This was the area where the offices, stables, coach house and wine cellar were located. The basements were used as cellars and a bottle room for storing wine. A new castle was built on the ruins of a 13th century castle, where the Savoy court could stay during their holidays. Palagi and his team decorated the rooms in an eclectic style, combining references to classical antiquity with Gothic revival.
In addition to the estate, Carlo Alberto’s neo-medieval dream also involved the village, which was partly rebuilt to serve the farm. Houses were built for the farm workers, along with the market and the central square overlooked by the new parish church: an imposing and austere Gothic building dedicated to San Vittore and built on previous early Christian ruins.
The original agricultural vocation of the complex is still maintained today: since 2004, the Agenzia and the Albertina have been home to the University of Gastronomic Sciences, promoted by Slow Food, the Wine Bank, where the wines of Italy’s finest producers are stored, and the Albergo dell’Agenzia (a four-star hotel with 47 rooms, gourmet restaurant, fitness centre and gym). Three archaeological sites in the grounds of the Agenzia bear witness to the late antique (5th-6th century) and medieval (10th-13th century) phases of Pollentia, founded by the Romans at the end of the 2nd century AD.
The castle, which is currently under private ownership, cannot be visited by the public.

Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II, 13 – Pollenzo (CN)
+39 0172 458416


Self-guided tour in the park
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Four-legged friends