Castle close-up: Castello di Gabiano

Deep in the Piedmont region of Italy, atop a hill, stands the proud Castello di Gabiano, one of our favourite places to stay in the region. While this imposing stone structure now houses a delightful luxury hotel, over the centuries it has borne witness to many events in the turbulent history of the Chianti area. We were lucky enough recently to sit down with Katia Gazzola from the hotel to learn more about the castle, the hotel and the winemaking that has been happening here for around a thousand years.
When was the castle built?
As early as the eighth century there is mention of a “cortem magnam nominam Gabianam”, that would suggest that there was already building underway. In 1164, the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick Barbarossa first bestowed the title of Marquis upon Guglielmo II of Monferrato, who was then granted possession of the castle and the surrounding area.

Who lived at Castello di Gabiano, any famous faces?
Right from the start, the site of the castle was considered extremely important for its strategic and economic setting – a fee had to be paid to cross the nearby river Po. As a consequence, the fortification was fought over by many important families over the centuries, including the Montiglio and Gonzaga familie. Finally Duke Ferdinand of Mantua ceded the property in 1622 and with the title passed on to a Genovese family, the Durazzo – their descendants have held it since.

What major events occurred in or near the castle?
A careful restoration was carried out in 1922 by Giacomo Filippo Durazzo and Matilde of the Giustiniani Princes. This included the complete renovation of the medieval village surrounding the castle, , the agricultural and wine farmhouses adjacent to the fortress and the creation of a historical garden.

The local commune’s archives of the 13th century tell us that the quality of the grapes and the wine production of Castello di Gabiano was already highly praised. This winemaking tradition is carried on and promoted today by Giacomo, Emanuela , Filippo and Serena Cattaneo Adorno

Any ghostly goings on?
Yes, different generations of castle keepers confirm some “presences” in the castle, even if we do not have a firm legend concerning a ghost. Maybe you’ll get lucky and see one!

 How did the castle become a hotel?
About 6 years ago, with the completion of the renovation works of the castle, including the ancient hunting lodges, the Marquis Cattaneo Adorno Giustiniani opened the hotel. Since then it has become a location unique for its elegance and prestige.

In addition to our wine-making, we pride ourselves on offering a refined refuge for guests seeking a romantic getaway. We believe our rooms and suites maintain the noble, comfortable confidence of the renaissance. Ideally, guests should feel the spirit of a big, welcoming house. We hope it will be somewhere for people to relax and enjoys the fruits of our vineyard in a welcoming atmosphere.

Tell us something special about the castle…
Today Giacomo Cattaneo Adorno, the last Marquis of Gabiano, together with his wife Emanuela, take a hands-on role in producing wines at the castle that reflect the spirit and flavour of the region.

The Gabiano district distinguishes itself from the rest of the Monferrato region because of the height of our vineyards and the privileged position towards the Alps, capturing directly the fresh mountain breezes.

Wine-ageing occurs in the purpose-built cellars under the castle, that date back to the eleventh century – people here have obviously enjoyed a drink here for a long time!
These natural cellars have been created through digging underground into the local rock, in so to assure a constant temperature of 6 degree all year long.

Our oenologist (wine scientist), Mario Ronco, is a highly regarded personality in the wine world and has obtained many prestigious awards and reviews from from Gambero Rosso, Decanter and Wine Enthusiast.

For something very special, our labyrinth, or hedge maze, on the estate is one of few in the Piedmont region This has an exceptional importance not only for its rarity but also for the historic period in which it was realized in the 1930s – one of the first created for centuries after being popular in the renaissance.

Our friendly staff are standing by to help you book your dream getaway at Castello di Gabiano today – get in touch!

Andrew is a firm believer that travelling like a local inevitably leads to the best off-the-beaten-path finds which truly make a destination remarkably more memorable. From traditional Indian festivals in humid Hyderabad to fresh seafood pasta by the Sorrentine Peninsula, he appreciates variety when travelling. He hasn't been everywhere, but it’s on the list.