The Castello di Prasco, the seat of the local feudal lords, has been documented to 1192, when records show it had already been built and was being used for public administration.
Through its history the castle's feudatories have belonged to the Malaspina, De Regibus, Spinola and Piuma families, the latter being the current owners under their current surname, Gallesio-Piuma.
Within the castle complex some spaces were once reserved for the feudal lords' residence and some used for the public functions of government, the exercise of justice and defence, such as the armoury, the audience room above and the loggia for the guards on top. These areas have a separate entrance, with an external door facing the church square and an independent staircase.
The complex, almost completely encircled by the historical park, includes the central castle structure, the guest quarters inside the first courtyard and the annex marking the east side.
The castle consists of a central part with three large towers. The main section rises on a wide rampart and has three courtyards, today planted with grass. It towers over the road, its wall between 8 and 12 metres high.
Inside the complex is divided into various parts: one still serves its original residential function, the part once destined for public use now hosts cultural events and the annex and guest quarters also still serve their original purpose.
The medieval construction shows typical splayed masonry with visible stones, while the 17th-century construction is still partly plastered, the wooden roof topped with bent tiles.
The large park is surrounded by a low wall in brick and stone interrupted by iron gates and closed by railings where it overlooks the road. Records relating to the park, home to a splendid 17th-century icehouse, show the presence of chestnut trees, but its most important moment came in the early 19th century when the gardens were remodelled and a collection of exceptional fruit tree varieties was introduced by Count Giorgio Gallesio, a renowned scientist, politician, diplomat and pomologist, whose fame led to him being buried in the cloister of Santa Croce in Florence.
Tours of the castle are always led personally by the owner (Countess Maria Elena Gallesio-Piuma di Prasco, a professor at the University of Genoa) who takes visitors through the complex. Depending on visitors' interests, she will talk about the castle's architectural aspects, historical events, the political links between the different feudatories through the centuries and the many activities of the Institute of Gallesian Studies, named after Giorgio Gallesio (magistrate, diplomat and civil servant but primarily a scholar of nature and author of the unrivalled Pomona Italiana). Visitors have the opportunity to ask questions based on their personal interests, and will also get to hear fascinating anecdotes about castle life, recounted by the countess with a lively eloquence.
Location for events
In the area: Acqui Terme thermal baths, Alto Monferrato castles, wineries
Typical products: wines (Dolcetto d'Ovada and d'Acqui, Gavi DOCG, Cortese del Monferrato, Moscato d'Asti, Brachetto di Acqui, Passito di Strevi), Roccaverano Robiola cheese, Ponzone Filetto Baciato salami, white Alba truffles
Sport: outdoor swimming pool, five-a-side football; nearby: golf, horseriding
Events: patron saint's day dedicated to S.S. Nazario and Celso (last weekend of July)