The Castle of Padernello
Once upon a time there was a castle, beautiful and austere, around which a rural village was born ... It ran the year 1391 in the lower lower part of the Lower Brescia. We are in Padernello in the ancient gabianesei lands, now Borgo San Giacomo, exactly halfway between Brescia and Cremona. After the first fortifications the manor, which belonged to the noble family of the Martinengo branch of the Counts of Padernello or of the Fabbrica up to 1834, was brought to completion. In the eighteenth century, according to the fashion of the time, it was transformed into a stately villa and took the form we admire today, from the 1861 family Salvadego Molin Ugoni.
In the 1965 the Castle of Padernello was abandoned by its last inhabitant, Count Filippo Molin Ugoni Salvadego. The Castle was covered in brambles, exposed to looting and human negligence, although in the 1912 it was defined as a high architectural merit and of national interest by the Ministry of Education.
Everyone forgot about the Castle, except for a handful of visionaries - the Friends of the Castle - that in the eighties they restored the ancient posteria - grocery store, now become an inn - the Aquila Rossa, imperial symbol of the Martinengo, with the intent to save the manor and enhance the village of Padernello.
In the 2002 a big snowfall brought down a part of the manor, the old kitchens. Popular wisdom says that not all evil comes to harm, and perhaps nature wanted to awaken the collective consciousness. And so it was that since then, thanks to the passion and good will of women and men, with a daring public-private operation, the thread has been taken to rekindle the history of a territory. Thanks to them the Castle was born to new life.
The structure, surrounded by a moat with a working drawbridge and a ravelin, stands isolated in the Brescia plain. The castle, which dominates the small town, consists of 130 rooms on a surface of 4000 m².
The construction of the castle was done by the Martinengo family, from Bergamo, faithful to the Venetian Republic, originally called the "Giselbertini", who from the tenth to the eleventh century began to name the nickname "da Martinengo" because resident in the castle of Martinengo, in the Bergamo plain. The presence of the noble house in Gabiano (ancient name of the present Borgo San Giacomo) is attested starting from the XI century. The noble family of the Martinengo remained in Padernello until the 1834; from the 1861 the possessions passed to the Salvadego Molin Ugoni family.
The castle, built at the end of the fourteenth century by Bernardino Martinengo, has a square plan with four defense towers. The first evidence of the presence of a fortification in Padernello dates back to 1391: a tower-house surrounded by a double moat, which overlooks a territory of vines, woods and pastures.
The construction of the castle began in the first half of the fifteenth century by two branches of the Martinengo family: the Martinengo di Padernello or "della Fabbrica" and the Martinengo "delle Palle".
Towards the 1470 the manor is already provided with a keep equipped with corbels and drains with functions of control and sighting of the surrounding territory, equipped with loopholes and Guelph battlements. The elegant portico on the north side dates back to the same period, characterized by stone columns with capitals bearing shields with the imperial eagle, the heraldic symbol of the family.
In the inner courtyard there is a loggia on the west side with typically 16th century pillars on which the coats of arms of the Martinengo and Colleoni families stand, family that was related to the Martinengo family. Of the sixteenth century are the large living room on the East side and the portico on the South side and, on the inside, the sail or barrel ceilings and the richly decorated wooden coffered ceilings.
The structure has undergone significant changes over time. In the eighteenth century the castle underwent an important architectural and functional renewal. The then Count Gerolamo Silvio converted the manor into an elegant villa according to the style of the time. At this time we owe the construction of the eighteenth-century staircase, the work of the famous architect Giovan Battista Marchetti (1686-1758), from the 1758 director of the construction of the new cathedral of Brescia. There was also a splendid ballroom, the chapel dedicated to Saints Faustino and Giovita.
The external façade on the north and east sides was softened with stone balconies and wrought iron railings, while on the south side a large central portal was opened, which gives access to the garden on the moat.
In 1834, after more than four centuries, the Martinengo family of Padernello, with the death of Girolamo Silvio II Martinengo, became extinct due to the absence of male heirs. At the death of the last Martinengo the Venetian properties were entrusted to his wife Countess Elisabetta Michiel, while those of the province of Brescia passed to his cousin Alessandro Molin. At the death of the latter the properties were inherited by the sisters Maria and Alba, married respectively to the Count Panciera di Zoppola and to the nobleman Pietro Salvadego.
Padernello, the castle and other properties were assigned, following the subdivision of the properties of the 1861, to the noble Salvadego. The last count to reside in the castle was Filippo Molin Ugoni Salvedego, who, for health reasons, preferred to move to the 1961 in his palace in Brescia, where he died in 1965.
Visit the Castle of Padernello
From Tuesday to Sunday it is possible to take guided tours of the castle; you can plan special nocturnal, theatrical visits to the Torrione and in Lis.
Schedules and prices for visits
Park or garden:
From Tuesday to Friday:
9.00 - 12.00 / 14.30 - 17.30
14.30 – 17.30
14.30 – 18.30
- Visit Castle + Exhibition - Full: € 7,00
- Visit Castle + Show - Reduced: € 5,00
- Visit Show: € 5,00
Guided tours in Italian Sign Language (LIS) with reservations required.
The amount may vary depending on the type of event in progress. The Castle can only be visited with a guide at the times indicated. Last admission one hour before closing.
UNESCO Heritage nearby
- Monumental area with the monastery of San Salvatore
- Santa Giulia and the archaeological area of the Capitolium in Brescia (30 km);
- The skill making violin maker of Cremona (30 km)