[Sept. 2022] We went on a day trip from Milan in Italy to a village called Grazzano Visonti in Emilia-Romagna.
Speaking of Visconti, it is the family who had great power mainly in Milan in the Middle Ages and Luchino Visconti, a famous film director was one of the descendants of this family.
And so is this village.
Originally a fortress was built here by Beatrice Visconti and her husband Giovanni Anguissola at the end of the 14th century, but what stands today is the castle restored in 1910 and the art and craft village built around it.
It is said that this village was also made for the purpose of saving the unemployed.
According to my husband’s research, it is open to the public only on weekends from spring to autumn.
Cute old-looking buildings are used as cafes, restaurants, and shops, so it’s like Disneyland for adults, but the village is already more than 100 years old, so it’s antique.
Italians are really good at making things look cute.
No matter which way I turned, it was a sight that made me want to take pictures.
The visit of the castle was only by a tour, and it was not cheap at €16 per person, but we decided to participate.
It was only available from 2:30, so we had a light lunch of ham and cheese platter + small bottle of wine at the restaurant specialised in Gnocco Fritto until then.
It had a very nice atmosphere.
They also gave us a delicious digestif whose name I don’t know.
After we did some shopping, it was 2:30 and the tour started.
It is said that Duke Giuseppe Visconti di Modrone, who restored the castle and built the village, had seven children with his wife.
When the couple separated, three of the seven remained in the castle with the Duke, while the other four moved with his wife to their home in Milan.
Luchino Visconti was one of those who went to Milan.
The most good looking of the three remained children became a heir and lived here until 2015.
Duke Modrone, the one who did the restoration, loved this heir who was blond and cute, so he had him dressed as a girl and drew pictures and took pictures of him.
The castle looks like a medieval castle from the outside, but the interior is a mix of designs from various eras, with works by craftsmen from the village and genuine antiques.
It is said that the aesthetic poet D’Annunzio was also involved in the design.
Certainly, it was an elaborate interior reminiscent of D’Annunzio’s house.
Apparently, the restoration of the castle and the construction of the village were criticised at the time, but the Duke did not respond directly to the criticism.
However, the phrase “Don’t listen to them and carry on” is engraved in several places.
This Duke of Modrone played the role of a spokesperson for the Queen Elena del Montenegro at the time, and the Queen often visited here, and there was even a room named “Queen’s Room”.
The guide said, “It is said that they may have had an affair, but there is no proof.”
There were a lot of other things we learned, and it was very interesting, but unfortunately, photography was strictly prohibited indoors.
It was a sunny Sunday and there were a lot of tourists.
It’s not exactly an old village with a long history, but it was worth a visit.