Grazzano Visconti – A new Medieval Village
In the verdant Val Nure, situated in a fairy-tale setting, Grazzano Visconti (150 inhabitants) is one of the most famous and visited cities of art of Piacenza’s province (Northern Italy). The quiet streets, the gardens, the water fountains, the handicraft shops – the whole in medieval style – come to a new life during the historical parades, when the burg is animated by knights, damsels, warriors, and squires.
Hundred years ago Grazzano, which was not yet Visconti, (added in 1915) was a peculiar village with a dismantled castle (XIV century) and a little church. The historic patrimony witnessed that the village was seat of various wars.
The burg was wanted by Giuseppe Visconti di Modrone, who made the whole complex be built in neo-gothic style around the XIV century castle. He has been able to transform the little falling farm houses in charming medieval residences. The availability of new houses, the start of a school of arts and crafts, the opening of laboratories and workshops for craftsmen created also bases for tourist activities. Nothing is missing : a hotel, restaurants, handicraft shops, and also the ghost of a soldier’s bride, whose name was Aloisa, who died after she knew that her husband had betrayed her. They tell that the ghost is still wandering in the burg looking for her lost love.
The objective of count Giuseppe was to realize a village that as well as making worthy frame to the castle, had in it structures assuring a job to the young people that finished the courses of creative handicraft of wood and wrought iron of the newborn school of Grazzano.
The Count Giuseppe Visconti’s talent created not only the designs of the houses and the costumes of the parades, but also the realization of frescoes, sculptures paintings, decorations. Gradually various buildings stood following the architectonic lines of the first centuries after year thousands. Battlemented walls, little fountains, balconies, pointed arches windows, porches, little columns and coats of arms were opportunely placed and the streets’ furniture concurs to forget that the more ancient construction is dated only hundred years.
In 1960’s the new medieval village would have become art city and the greatest pole for Piacenza’s tourism, attracting every year nearly 300,000 visitors