Tenuta di Pollenzo

A royal farm

The History

The creation of a grand farming estate
In the heart of the Langhe and Roero, King Carlo Alberto of Savoy-Carignano recovered the ancient Roman village of Pollenzo, in the hamlet of Bra, in 1833 to establish his own farm with farmsteads, vineyards and cellars. The complex was designed by the architect Ernesto Melano and the multifaceted artist Pelagio Palagi, who indulged the sovereign's neo-Gothic taste by elaborating an evocative ideal city in neo-medieval forms. For the vast English-style park, embellished by an artificial lake fed by the Tanaro river, Carlo Alberto entrusted the renowned landscape architect Xavier Kurten.
The complex organisation included a main structure called the Agency, the seat of the estate's management and characterised on the sides by an imposing crenellated tower and a large farmhouse called the Albertina. This area housed the offices, the stables, the coach house and the Vinaia. The basements were used as cellars and wine cellars for storing wine. A new castle was built on the remains of an old 13th century castle, in which the Savoy court could stay during holiday periods. The decoration of the rooms was carried out by Palagi and his team in an eclectic style in which references to classical antiquity coexist with Gothic revival.
In addition to the estate, Carlo Alberto's neo-medieval dream also involved the village, which was partly rebuilt in function of the farm. Houses were built for the farmers, 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 remains.

The centre of fine food and wine
The original agricultural vocation of the complex is still maintained today: since 2004 the Agenzia and the Albertina farmhouse have been home to the University of Gastronomic Sciences, promoted by Slow Food, the Wine Bank, where the wines of Italy's best producers are stored, and the Albergo dell'Agenzia (four-star hotel with 47 rooms, gourmet restaurant, fitness and gym). In the Agenzia park, three archaeological areas 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, currently privately owned, cannot be visited by the public.

The Chronologie

  • 1438: The fiefdom of Pollenzo, with its medieval castle, is owned by the Marquises Romagnano

  • 1751-1762: Thomas James of Romagnano died without heirs and the Savoy took possession of the fief.

  • Early 19th century: The castle is used by the students of the Military Academy as a leisure residence.

  • 1832: The castle is acquired by the special patrimony of Charles Albert, who begins the construction of the large farm.

  • 1835: Palagio Palagi makes new accommodation for the court.

  • 1835: Xaver Kurten is appointed director of the gardens.

  • 1836: Second construction campaign for the castle, the residence and the park (Ernest Melano, Palagi, Kurten).

  • 1835-1843: Realisation of the Agency and the Albertina farmhouse.

  • 1847: The new church of San Vittore is completed.

  • 1861-1878: Victor Emmanuel II refurbished the residence.

  • 1877: On the occasion of the Countess of Mirafiori's stay, the apartments were refurbished.

  • 2000: The Pollenzo Agency is created to take care of the restoration

  • 2004: The University of Gastronomic Sciences is based here

  • Today: It is managed by the Pollenzo Agency and is the headquarters of the University of Gastronomic Sciences and the Wine Bank

The Character

Maria Teresa di Lorena, Regina di Sardegna 1801-1855
Daughter of Ferdinand II of Lorraine Grand Duke of Tuscany and Marie Louise of Bourbon Princess of Naples and Sicily.

In 1817 she married Carlo Alberto Prince of Carignano in Florence to whom she gave three children: Victor Emmanuel, the future Victor Emmanuel II, Ferdinand and Maria Cristina. From 1849, when she was widowed, she lived mainly at the castle of Moncalieri, at the hunting lodge of Stupinigi in the company of her son Victor Emmanuel II and her daughter-in-law, and rarely at the castle of Racconigi, where she had lived with her husband.