Borgo Cornalese

Region: Piemonte e Valle d'Aosta

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Borgo Cornalese is an architectural complex located just outside Villastellone, less than half an hour by car or train from Turin. The complex consists of the 18th-century Villa of the Maistre Counts, a large 16-hectare park, a 16th-century mill, a thousand-year-old hamlet composed of two agricultural courtyards spanning over 11,000 square metres, which are currently under restoration, and a beautiful neo-Classical church dedicated to Our Lady of Sorrows.

Borgo Cornalese, and in particular Villa de Maistre, is an ideal location for television, film and advertising productions and photo and video shoots, as well as events such as automotive rallies or sporting and trade fair activities. Production companies, event organisers and press communication firms have access to extensive open-air areas as well as various interior spaces within both the main Villa and the adjacent courtyards. These spaces can cater to a wide range of needs, encompassing industrial settings, ancient barns, stables, a fully functional mill featuring its original stone grinding wheels, expansive covered walkways, a meticulously landscaped garden housing a sizable rose garden and one of Piedmont's most magnificent magnolia trees, a sprawling 16-hectare park, grand tree-lined avenues of poplars and linden trees, over 180 hectares of pristine farmland, which includes pockets of lush woodlands and a marsh, a private chapel, historically significant structures such as the lemon house and the woodshed, and refined rooms adorned with authentic frescoes

The Borgo is a very large but logistically very practical area, so much so that it has been dubbed the ‘Cinema City Studios’ or ‘Cinecittà’ of the Province of Turin by the local newspapers. The Villa stands out as a prominent attraction within the picturesque surroundings of the Colline del Po hills, and the entire Borgo Cornalese is recognised in the UNESCO Man and Biosphere (MAB) programme for its exceptional natural beauty. The Italian garden of the Villa is home to more than 100 roses of various types and colours, while the 16-hectare park contains examples of oak, linden, beech, poplar and many other types of trees that host various species of migratory birds such as woodcocks, swallows, wood pigeons and bee-eaters every year. The coat of arms of the town of Villastellone indeed features the same golden marigolds that are displayed on the Maistre family crest.



Recent studies conducted on the Borgo Cornalese settlement enable experts to roughly redefine a different history than the one previously told, which suggested the existence of an ancient Bulgarian settlement. Both the analysis of the structures and the investigations carried out on archival documentation have revealed a complex history with ancient origins.

The buildings indicate a millennia-old settlement, which would have been a fortified construction defending the territory, located on the tip of the Poirino Plateau. A first settlement dating back to around the year 1000, which may have been erected by the Templars, has been identified, around which the entire fortified precinct was subsequently developed and organised.

There are still traces of an ancient square tower, which almost certainly defended an early walled enclosure. There is also a portion of a round tower, the ruins of which were later used as a dovecote. The alleyway of the Borgo – the ancient courtyard – offers a glimpse of the 14th-century castle, its fine masonry displaying stylised joints and supporting buttresses, along with some faint traces of frescoed plaster, dating from after the initial construction.

Coffer ceilings, vaults, cellars and icehouses propel the observer on a journey back in time. However, over the centuries, conflicts between different rulers and the ravages of time have stripped the ancient architecture of any removable decorations. The history of this complex, which may appear unified at first glance but actually comprises buildings with distinct typological characteristics, is conveyed through its masonry. This development spans millennia and is corroborated by historical records.

The certified history of Borgo Cornalese begins with the Aleramo lineage, known for its Salic origins. It unfolds within the Marquisates of Saluzzo, Monferrato and Vasto. Extensive archival research takes us back to the court of Emperor Frederick I, who in 1163 confirmed the ownership of the Feudo di Borgaro (one of the ancient names of Borgo Cornalese) to the Marquises of Romagnano. In 1224, the Cistercian friars, also known as the White Monks, of the Abbey of Casanova obtained permission from Lorenzo di Borgaro to create a canal, which later became the Gora di Borgo in 1285. Remarkably, the mill along this canal, reconstructed in 1597, still stands today. The older residents of the Borgo (special thanks are extended to Augusto, who provided invaluable insights), have consistently referred to one of the buildings as ‘il Castello’, the existence of which has been confirmed in documents referring to the Castle of Borgo dating back to the early 1300s. Between 1300 and 1600, the territories of Borgo Cornalese were embroiled in numerous violent conflicts, resulting in the Borgo becoming a target for looting and destruction. These historical events are evident in some remnants on the oldest buildings, with only a faint trace remaining of an upper floor that was undoubtedly destroyed and never reconstructed.

Borgo Cornalese maintained its strategic importance until around the mid-1500s when more important centres began to have fortified walls, while the small defensive fiefdoms no longer served their intended purpose. Gradually, the Borgo was transformed and became an agricultural centre dependent on the jurisdiction of the ‘new’ Villa: today’s Villa de Maistre. In the 1300s, the Costa family, treasurers of the D'Acaya princes, settled there and remained at this residence until the end of the 18th century. Between 1799 and 1816, the Borgo was annexed to the territory of Villastellone. The 19th-century Church of the Blessed Virgin of Sorrows was built in 1850 by Duke Eugène-Alexandre Montmorency de Laval, husband of Anne Constance de Maistre, daughter of the philosopher Joseph de Maistre. It is a finely crafted neo-Classical architectural building.

Today, the Borgo retains the appearance of a self-sufficient medieval farming village, although it includes some buildings from more recent times, such as the Church and the splendid ‘Villa dei Conti de Maistre’ and its park. The watermill, which remains operational, is driven by the flow of the Bealera or Gora di Borgo stream.

Borgo Cornalese has been historically documented under several names, such as Borgo, Borgo di Borgo and Borgaro, with references found in:  

  • The State Archives of Turin
  • The Historical Archives of Carmagnola
  • Casanova Cartulary
  • Numerous publications by the Society for Historical, Archaeological and Artistic Studies of the Province of Cuneo.



Borgo Cornalese is currently undergoing an ambitious, multi-year conservation and restoration project encompassing more than 20,000 square meters of historical structures. As a result, the site hosts skilled craftsmen specialising in a wide range of restoration tasks, including fresco and plasterwork restoration, fixture and furniture conservation, art restoration and wall repair. Additionally, these professionals are equipped to work with modern materials necessary for the restoration, such as resins, lime, paints and upholstery.

Chosen as a location for many film, television and advertising productions, the workshops at Borgo Cornalese are suited to the needs of every type of production company, be it in terms of decoration, set design, restoration or installations. In addition, Ludovico de Maistre, the location manager, is the founder of a production and communication company offering a wealth of supplementary services, including:

  • Photo and video services
  • Cinema services (generators, lighting, tripods, special effects, etc.)
  • Camera operators
  • Custom scenery and staging
  • Drones
  • Post-production and editing
  • Runner assistance, qualified personnel, etc.
  • Management of permits and public space occupation.

Within the location, there are numerous parking facilities, including spaces for large vehicles and areas to accommodate various types of generators. The following amenities are also available:

  • Workshops for decoration, set design and restoration with on-site professional artisans
  • Agricultural and earth-moving machinery for any type of requirement
  • Electricity with meters ranging from 15 to 35 kW.


Other residence in the region

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External use
Internal use
Garden use
Event salons:5