- Art & Culture
Sondrio, the legend of Orlando
Castel Masegra is an imposing building which sits atop a 60m-tall rock, dominating the Sondrio skyline
Open for visiting from May to September on Saturdays and Sundays, you can get to Castel Masegra by heading to the medieval town of Sondrio, with the castle’s stunning balcony and breath-taking views of the town well worth the effort.
Though the castle was a military fortress in medieval times, it became a place of splendour during the Renaissance: the Beccaria family added a loggia and a painted room in the dovecote tower, resplendent with frescoes inspired by Orlando Furioso.
Yet it is not the only place to see the subject of Ludovico Ariosto’s epic poem: Orlando Furioso is also the subject of frescoes at Palazzo Besta in Teglio and Casa Valenti in Talamona.
Like early comic books, the frescoes tell the tale of the Christian paladin whose love for the beautiful Angelica erupted into rage when she married the Saracen knight Medoro. It was the height of cultural expression for the Beccaria and Besta families, yet it also represents the latent religious tensions at play in Valtellina in the 16th century, with the Catholic area occupied by the Protestants of Grisons.