The story

An exciting new chapter is opening up in the history of the Castle of Colcavagno. The castle is situated in the heart of Asti’s Monferrato region, just below Montiglio. Its earliest foundations date back to the eleventh century AD.
An extant act of sale dated 1003 refers to a piece of land described as being near the “Corte Cavani” castle. The form “Curcavagnus” first appears in 1164. By 1197 this has evolved into “Corcavagna,” from whence derives the modern day Colcavagno. Extensive historical, archaeological, artistic and architectonic research is currently underway into the castle’s origins.
After having been reconstructed on numerous occasions as a result of damage caused by local conflicts, the castle assumed its present day aspect in the seventeenth century. In 1667 it was renovated by the Marquis Famino Giacinto Balbiano, who transformed the castle into a luxurious red-brick baroque villa. It then passed into the hands of the Cottolengo nuns, for whom it served as a rest home and spiritual retreat for over a century (1902-2010).

June 5 2010 saw a grand inauguration ceremony, as the castle reopened its doors in an entirely new guise. It is now the new headquarters of the Paolo Ferraris Foundation, where it will serve as a meeting space dedicated to local culture. The property will be opened to the public for a series of important cultural, artistic, tourism, economic and social initiatives, thus becoming a key local and cultural reference point.
Thanks to support from its parent company, Paolo Ferraris Srl., which has for decades been one of the most important market forces in Italy in the field of conservation, restoration and promotion of archival and bibliographical heritage, the Paolo Ferraris Foundation intends to restore this important monument to the public, subsequent to an initial programme of renovations of the building and surrounding park.

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One of the oak doors lining the ballroom leads through to the Sala del confessionale (Confessional Room), so-called because it houses an antique confessional The room’s ceiling frescoes are a baroque masterpiece and its still-vivid colours perfectly complement the gilt-work which decorates the room as a whole. Next door, you will find the Sala Giada “Jade Room,” which boasts typical baroque ceiling frescoes which create the illusion of relief work carved directly into the sky. The motifs in question remain colourless, in order to enhance the effect.


The ballroom also leads to the so-called Sala delle colombe (Hall of the Doves), which represents a remarkable feat of imaginative ingenuity. The cruciform ceiling vault is decorated with floral motifs which delineate the lintels supporting the structure. This elaborate design is completed by the central ceiling rose, which features the doves which give the room its name.


A feature from one of the great oak doors which line the ballroom. Note the delicacy of the ornamental motif, which bears testimony to the great skill of its creator. 

The castle also boasts a video room, equipped with a big-screen plasma TV. The video room is decorated with elaborate geometric motifs.


Also on the ground floor, visitors can proceed to the Sala delle mostre (Exhibition Room), the perfect setting for exhibitions of painting or sculpture, inasmuch as it offers the requisite combination of hospitality and austerity. The photographs you can see on this page were taken during an

exhibition of the works of Teresa Garbero in Ferraris, a painter from Colcavagno. The adjacent Sala delle opere (Gallery) is host to a photographic exhibition set up by the Paolo Ferraris Foundation. Another great setting for art exhibitions or other cultural events, the Gallery boasts a magnificent pink marble fireplace.


The cellars of the Castle of Colcavagno hold all the allure and mystery which one would expect from their centuries of history. These silent walls have housed generation after generation of the rich, full-bodied wines which characterise Asti’s prestigious wine-producing tradition. The great antechamber which initially greets visitors leads into the Cantine Vinum Vite,

where wines are aged in their barrels. This room in turn leads through to the other cellars, where bottled wines are conserved. These cellars, carefully designed to maintain the correct level of humidity for the aging of wines, are one of the castle’s greatest treasures and are available for gourmet wine exhibitions or tasting sessions.



All rights reserve. Fondazione Paolo Ferraris. P. IVA 97532950017