Castello di Rocca Grimalda
The castle, built on the top of a rocky spur, had a strategically important position, being easily defendable and able to control the roads between the Oltregiogo around Ovada and the Alessandria plains, in an area of conflicts between Monferrato and Liguria.
The construction of the castle has developed through the centuries around the massive circular tower, dated to between the 12th and 13th centuries. Originally built with a polygonal structure for surveillance troops, the castle, initially included within the Malaspinas’ feud, was transformed into a noble residence for the Trotti family of Alessandria around the middle of the 15th century.
Subsequently the Grimaldis, an illustrious patrician family from Genoa, bought the castle in 1570 and lived there for more than 200 years, completing its construction in the late 18th century with the imposing western façade.
The tower contains five rooms, one on top of the other, accessed through a spiral staircase inside the perimeter wall. Small embrasures illuminate the interior. The crenellations were destroyed by lightning in the late 19th century. Used for centuries as a prison, soot marks and graffiti carved on the walls bear witness to those who were once locked up inside.
The large chapel at the base of the castle’s west wing was commissioned by Giovanni Battista Grimaldi III at the end of the 18th century and is still in use. The interior is elaborately decorated in trompe l’oeil style with multi-coloured stuccowork.
The gardens date back to the middle of the 18th century when Battista Grimaldi decided to expand the space in front of the castle to create a splendid belvedere looking out over the Orba valley. The recently restored gardens are divided into three sections according to the baroque model: an Italian-style garden, a wooded grove or romantic garden and a secret garden with culinary and medicinal herbs, inspired by medieval monastic gardens.
Visits are led by the owners and include the gardens, halls, courtyard and chapel.
Mask Museum, church of Santa Limbania.
IN THE AREA
Ovada, Acqui Terme, Alto Monferrato castles, wineries, Genoa and the Riviera (50 km).
Wines (Dolcetto d’Ovada, Gavi DOCG, Cortese del Monferrato).
Horseriding (many riding schools), golf (Villa Carolina Golf Club in Capriata d’Orba), nearby swimming pools.
“La Lachera” Rocca Grimalda carnival, “Cammino di Santa Limbania” and the Faith and Taste itineraries (mid-June), “Sagra della Peirbuieria” (late August).Events dedicated to gardens, art, music and theatre are organized by the castle and open to the public.
The castle offers accommodation in charming apartments, available for weekly rent and B&B.
The gardens, halls and chapel can be hired for events and ceremonies.
Winery Castello di Rocca Grimalda.
13 May: Castelli Aperti, opening 10.00-18.00, guided tours and wine tasting of the Dolcetto "Ovada", from "Rocca Rondinaria", the family winery.
27 May: Day dedicated to the Association of the Historic Houses in Italy, free admission.
2 and 3 June: Flower Festival.