- Art & Culture
The castle that overlooks Sondrio, erected in a strategic position at the entrance of the Valmalenco valley, is the only military structure in Sondrio of medieval origin to have reached modern times intact and is still in use, although over the centuries its function has changed. Its architectural structure also changed, leading it to the heterogeneous and stratified aspect it has today, so that Masegra Castle provides us with a visible cross section of the past 700 years of history in Valtellina.
Its history is complex. Originally a medieval castle, the seat of the feudal lords known as the Capitanei, rulers of Sondrio, it was damaged and rebuilt many times, especially in the thirteen and fourteenth centuries. In the 15th and 16th century it served as the elegant seat of the Beccaria family, heirs to the Capitanei. Towards the end of the century, it was ceded to the powerful Grison clan of the Salis Soglio, who, following the grievous and sanguinary events of the two decades that opened with the so-called “Holy Slaughter”, turned it into a flourishing agricultural estate. It was seized and returned to its military function as a garrison with the territory’s annexation by Napoleon and finally, after World War II, it became a military post. Today, the castle complex is owned by the municipality.
Features of particular note include the Renaissance camera picta in the dovecote tower, whose umbrella vaulted ceiling is decorated with a beautiful cycle of frescoes depicting scenes from Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso.