More than a thousand years of the history of Piemonte, and indeed of Italy, are conserved in a fairy-tale royal palace nestling amid immense and wonderful English-style 19thcentury grounds. Castello di Masino - the residence for ten centuries of the Earls of Valperga, the supposed descendents of King Arduino - dominates the panorama of the Canavese area, and its interiors are embellished by rich ornamentation and breathtaking frescos.
The multi-layered features of the 30 monumental rooms in the Castle are the fruits of centuries of changing tastes in decor and furnishings. The grand halls (with their sumptuous 17th- and 18thcentury frescos), the Ambassadors' Rooms, the separate living quarters and the Apartment of Madama Reale (Christine Marie of France) all tell the tale of the family whose members were the protagonists of Piedmontese and Italian history. One of the most interesting parts of the Castle is the Ballroom, where the large windows allow the interior to come harmoniously face-to-face with the exterior, and where the walls feature trompe l'oeil frescos with theatrical curtains that open into 18th-century Arcadian landscapes, complemented in the cupola by delightful architectural perspectives. Damasks, collections of miniatures, 17th-century portraits of "beautiful ladies" in splendid oval cornices, velvet armchairs surrounding period tables, lavish console tables and delightful pottery all combine to make the "Red Living Room" a great example of the original ambience of Castello di Masino, and it has been painstakingly preserved by FAI. The nearby Palazzo delle Carrozze plays host to the extensive collection of 18th- and 19th-century coaches. (The entrance to the Museo delle Carrozze is subject to limitations. For info, contact the property).
The evolution of the Castle's unique grounds
Just as the Castle itself has been subject to myriad changes over the course of the centuries, so too have the grounds. In the 18th century, the gardens to the south-west and west of the Castle were laid out in accordance with a geometric plan that combined the Renaissance model of the Italian garden with typically French decorative embellishments. The current configuration derives from the reorganisation of the grounds in the early 19th-century in the English style, which led to the creation of the extraordinary panoramic path known as the "Strada dei 22 giri".