Vineyards surround the castle
The Castle of Masino is of very ancient origin. Originally it was a stronghold with a square plan and angular towers and communication trenches. The ancient walls used to be inside what is now the inner court. The building was very likely demolished in mid 16th century and was rebuilt in the 17th century by the owners, the Earls of Masino.
This noble family played an active role in the political life of many European Courts over the centuries, especially that of Savoy; they were advisors and high-ranking officers to the Dukes of the House of Savoy first, and then to the Kings Vittorio Amedeo II and Vittorio Amedeo III. Upon the death of the marchioness Vittoria (1987), the Castle was acquired by FAI and in 1988 it was declared to be of great historic and artistic interest by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities. Not only the castle, but the garden too underwent many changes over the centuries. The gardens positioned south-east, designed and created in 1700 following the geometrical design of Italian gardens but with the embellishments of French gardens, have since undergone many changes. Following the rearrangements of the 19th century the garden took on its present look: a 24 hectare park with English gardens and a road which makes its way across the woods and down to Strambino, a jewel even in terms of landscape. From the immense park which overlooks the Plane of Ivrea and the Serra Morenica you enjoy a 360 degrees view of a pristine landscape.
Around the Castle was a flourishing farming activity with olive groves and vineyards. The multi-level cellars below are still today fully equipped for wine making, there is a large winepress, tens of wine barrels, an alembic for the distillation of grappa and a grindstone.
In the 19th century there was renewed interest in viticulture and wine making which was tackled with new tools and knowhow. Important evidence of the interest in the viticulture of the time is represented by the “Dizionario Geografico Storico – Statistico – Commerciale degli Stati di S.M. il Re di Sardegna”, a monumental work by Goffredo Casalis, describing all the countries belonging to the Sardinian Kingdom, including the 36 municipalities which today represent the area acknowledged as the land for the production of Erbaluce wine.
Quote from the Dictionary: << Caravino […] Facing south is a pleasant and fertile hill, on whose top one can see the beautiful Castle of Masino. The foot of the hill is green in colour, covered by the beautiful and well kept vineyards; some quarter of a mile further up is coppice woodland, mainly chestnut trees which not only supply their fruits but are also very useful in supporting the vines which are plentiful in the area.
The fertile Marino hill, which rises on the boreal side of Vestigné is completely covered with vines and three quarters of it belong to this municipality. The land profusely produces wheat, rye, corn, all sorts of civaje (legumes) and in particular it yields wines of excellent quality, sold without difficulty to the people in the surroundings and especially to those living beyond the Dora Baltea river. […]>>
Therefore in the past, this area was characterized by vine growing and the production of wine for the Castle, for personal use and for sale. In the light of all this, and in view of protecting against environmental degradation, important projects have been undertaken in recent years for the recovery and replanting of the historic vineyards of the Masino Castle, just as they were in the 18th century, with excellent autochnonous vine as Erbaluce, Barbera, Petit Rouge, Neretto and Nebbiolo.