Castle Suardi and the Mediaeval Hamlet

Bianzano | Monumenti

Standing at the crossroads for the north of Europe, a mysterious demesne conceals the enigmas of the Templars…

The little Val Cavallina is dotted with more than two hundred castles due to its strategic position connecting the Padana plain with the Brenner Pass: it is a veritable gateway to the great North. Among these feudal sites, that of Bianzano, which dates from the 13th century, is one of the most fascinating and mysterious. Here one can admire a splendid panoramic view, follow in the footsteps of the Knights Templar (as many believe, given certain discoveries and clues that are still visible in the buildings) and then go on to explore the surrounding mediaeval hamlet, a little gem which has the distinguishing shape of a “comet star”.

 

In the centre of the small village of Bianzano there rises an ancient castle, the history of which is still partly shrouded in mystery. It is built on a square plan, the corners being aligned with the four cardinal points. The castle is encircled by two walled enclosures, the ancient walls of which are still clearly visible today and at whose centre stands the imposing keep.

It was the foresight of the Suardi family that saved this castle from destruction under the dominion of the Venetian Republic. They took the decision to dismantle the crenellations on the walls to make the castle look as little like a fort and as much like a residential building as possible. One can still see their coat of arms at the entrance portal of the castle.

Flanking the heraldic emblem of the Suardi family is that of the Visconti, a result of the marriage between Bernarda Visconti and Giovanni Suardi of the castle in 1367. The building boasts a sequence of stunning frescoes representing the cardinal virtues, together with geometric motifs, black lozenges and a series of little putti (cherubs).

Also preserved amid the walls of the castle are carved stone “flowers of life”, by tradition a Templar symbol, together with curious arrow slits shaped in the form of a cross. Whether the castle of Bianzano was actually once in the hands of these knights or not remains unproven today and there are still many mysteries left to be solved…

Radiating from the castle there developed the mediaeval village of Bianzano, positioned on a natural terrace facing the lake. Once inside the village, one seems to step back in time: enchanting porticoes, open galleries, little hidden courtyards and old wells seem literally to bring the past to life. If only we could actually turn back time, perhaps then we could discover more about those mysterious symbols hiding in the walls at the centre of the village…

So it is that since 1997 the festival Rievocazione Storica Medievale: “Alla Corte dei Suardo” (Recalling Mediaeval History: At the Court of the Suardo), which was created for the express purpose of promoting the history of the village, is regularly enacted for the public. This is part of a rich programme of pageants and cultural events linked to the local traditions.

 

Promotional material provided by the cultural and tourist association Associazione culturale e turistica Pro Bianzano.

 

 

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