Piedmont continues to pull in visitors who seek to experience its varied landscape. This property in Melazzo is in the midst of it all, never far from the mountains and coast, while enjoying the rolling countryside of its own location. The perfect spot in which to situate yourself, if only for the summer, as we discover.
While much attention is focused on its capital, Turin, the northern Italian state of Piedmont has a lot more going for it than big-city life. Alpine living is fundamental to the identity of the people here, while its proximity to France and Switzerland give it a welcome international outlook.
Small Alpine towns and villages are a huge part of the character of Piedmont (which, aptly, means ‘foothills of the Alps’), though this should not blind visitors to its rural attractions further south. Indeed, with the famous mountains to the north and the Ligurian Sea an hour in the opposite direction, the small town of Melazzo is centrally placed to take advantage of the diverse opportunities presented by the region’s natural beauty.
Melazzo is located in the province of Alessandria, which is known for various UNESCO World Heritage Sites such as the church and convent of Santa Croce at Bosco Marengo and Sezzadio’s Abbazia di Santa Giustina (St Guistina abbey), founded in 722. A striking building in Melazzo, however, has its own very impressive history. Castello di Melazzo (Castle of Melazzo) dates back to the 11th century and, according to historian Ian Mortimer, England’s King Edward II lived here for two and a half years in the 1330s.
But to consign this impressive castle to a relic of a bygone age would be a mistake. With its 16 bedrooms (four en-suite), eight bathrooms and 12 reception rooms, today it is ready for modern living. Surrounded by crenellated walls, the castle and its ancillary buildings cover 2,600 sq m, and sit amidst 6,000 sq m of parkland, overlooking the town and the Alessandria countryside.
And it is this Alessandria location that is so alluring: sitting midway between the big cities of Turin and Milan, towards the north, and Genoa on the coast, with the Alps, France and Switzerland in the near distance, this Italian province is never short of options for exciting excursions. Perhaps not an inconspicuous place to call home, Castle Melazzo is nevertheless an optimally located rural hideaway.