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Castle of Torrechiara, the legend of love between the duchess and the condottiere

Sunday 08 july 2018

A castle, a brave hero and a lady: the ingredients are all there, for this legend intertwined with the story to be retraced on the rio delle Favole and in the manor, especially in the "Golden Chamber"

Castle of Torrechiara, the legend of love between the duchess and the condottiere

The territory is ancient. Indeed, very ancient, populated since Roman times, as evidenced by the findings found over time. And the castle of Torrechiara is one of the finest examples of manors of the fifteenth century, spectacularly preserved and often used as a film set. It rises in the hills, in Langhirano in the province of Parma and at 278 meters above sea level, on a walled platform placed at the top of a hill and was erected between 1448 and 1460 on the traces of a previous fortification. And among the legends concerning the castle, there is a love story, that between Pier Maria Rossi and the Duchess Bianca Pellegrini, spent mostly in the castle of Torrechiara.

According to legend, the ghost of Count Pier Maria Rossi, during the nights of full moon, is still around the castle and often returns to the Rio delle Favole, a road that leads to the entrance of the fortress, reciting a motto dedicated to the beloved: "Nunc et semper", now and forever. The motto is also traceable in the fresco of the "Golden Chamber", built by the count for him and the duchess, precisely on the ribbon that binds the hearts of the two lovers and on which their initials are depicted. The manor is now classified as a national monument protected by the Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities, opens its doors to visitors and allows you to travel back centuries to understand its history but also the cross-section of Parma in which it is located.

We then return to the second half of the thirteenth century and to the entire fourteenth century, when the territory was disputed by the most important feudal families and even the Reds - feudatories of Berceto - extended their ambitions on the territory of Langhirano obtaining the investiture of Castrignano and Tiorre in the years between 1376 and 1413. Only between 1450 and 1473 Pier Maria Rossi (1413-1482), Marquis of San Secondo and count of Berceto, already a great leader in the service of the Visconti and the Sforza in Milan, retired in the native lands, dedicating itself to consolidating the administrative structure of the fief, to fortifying the existing castles and erecting new ones to guard the main communication routes.

It was Rossi himself who dictated the inscription of the castle of Torrechiara, "altiera et felice", and in fact the fortification reveals a very happy fusion between the functional characteristics of the fortress and the elegance - as well as the wealth - typical of the noble residence. The four-sided structure once was surrounded by three circles of crenellated walls, by walkways and by four corner towers and today it is almost unchanged. In the "Golden Room", the most celebrated setting of the castle, in addition to the echo of the legend, there is a cycle of frescoes attributed to the school of Benedetto Bembo and in which it is represented, Bianca Pellegrini, who dresses in wandering clothes all the Rossian properties, painted in great detail.


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