The Catajo Castle


Castello del Catajo


The Catajo Castle (Castello del Catajo) is an imposing complex whose exterior brings to mind the image of a military fortress. Its wide terraces offer a splendid view of the amphitheatre of hills that surround the castle. The Catajo sits on the slopes of Montenuovo and is surrounded by a large garden with various architectural and sculptural elements. The building was constructed between 1570 and 1573 as a private villa, even if as much for its impressiveness as for its fortified aspect, the term "castle" is not inappropriate. The villa was designed by architect Andrea della Valle upon demand of commander Pio Enea I degli Obizzi, famous for his invention of the howitzer, and therefore it reflected his military character.



 After the extinction of the family the castle passed first to the Estensi family, then to the Habsburg who used it as a hunting estate. Then in 1929 it became the property of the Dalla Francesca family, who are the current owners. The structure of impressive proportions (there are more than 350 rooms), is decorated in the interior with a series of frescos painted by Gianbattista Zelotti, student of Paolo Veronese. Its architectural panels describe the heroic achievements of the Obizzi family in chronological order. The vast park surrounding the villa is plentiful in century-old trees and in notable vegetation. One part of the park is on the slope of a small hill and was at one time the hunting reserve of the owners, hence its name Parco dei Daini (Fallow Deer Park). The complex hosts conferences, conventions, and parties.


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