Verres Castle

Verres Castle

[April, 2023] After seeing the Bard Fortress in Valle d’Aosta, the north western tip of Italy, we decided to check out the castle of Verres, which is the relay point back to Aosta.

Verres Castle on the hill in Valle d'Aosta in Italy
the cubical castle of Verres on the hill

This castle is also located on a hill, but it is not a luxurious building complex like Bard Fortress, but a simple cube with a side of about 30 metres.

It’s made of stone and looks sturdy.

After getting off the bus, we started walking with the intention of approaching and just looking at it from the outside, but in the end we climbed all the way to the top of the hill.

We were told that we could only go inside on a tour, but luckily, after about 10 minutes of waiting, the next tour (€6 per person) started.

the room which used to be a stable in Verres Castle in Valle d'Aosta, Italy
here the local people have a dance party every year

This castle belonged to the Challant family, soldiers who served the Savoy family who later ascended the throne of the Kingdom of Italy.

The castle, which has a history dating back to the latter half of the 13th century, was rebuilt at the end of the 14th century by Commander-in-Chief Ibleto di Challant to take on its current appearance.

The upper floor has a living space for the family, but it seems that it was mainly used as a garrison for the soldiers.

In the large room that used to be a horse stable, dance parties are still held by the locals during carnivals.

the kitchen in Verres Castle in Valle d'Aosta in Italy
it used to be a kitchen

That is based on an anecdote that in 1442, a daughter of the Challant family, Caterina Challant, who was trying to take over her family after the male line died out, went down to the village during the carnival and danced with the common people in order to gain popularity among the villagers.

Her efforts were in vain, however, and after a trial, in 1456, her house title was passed to her male cousin Giacomo Challant Aymaville.

As for the living spaces of the castle, various ingenuities were put.

For example, it is said that only warm air flowed from the large fireplace so that the smoke would not reach the nobles’ rooms.

open ceiling of Verres Castle in Valle d'Aosta in Italy
ceiling was open so that they could collect the rain water

There was also a space that served as a refrigerator.

There were two toilets in the bedroom, and the items were designed to drop directly into the garden.

And the ceiling was open to collect rainwater in the well.

After all, when you listen to the explanation, you can feel the history close to you, which is interesting.

It was a tour of about 40 minutes.

The castle temporarily passed into the hands of the Savoy family, then returned to the Challant family at the end of the 17th century, but by the time their family line ended at the end of 19th century, the castle was completely ruined.

the town of Verres seen from the Verres Castle
looking down on the Verres town from the hill

It is written in the pamphlet I received that it was saved by a group of Piedmontese scholars who were keen on the history of the Middle Ages.

Restoration was completed in 1920.

After leaving the castle, we went down the hill, walked endlessly through the town of Verres, and finally arrived at the train station.

This station is very old fashioned.

It was open in the morning, but the station building was closed on the way back.

They say it closes at 3pm every day.