The Manta Castle stands in a strategic position between the hills of Saluzzo and Cuneo. Famous for the splendid cycle of late Gothic frescoes that decorate its rooms, considered among the most important in Europe, it is a medieval fortress transformed over the centuries into a noble palace by the noble family of the Saluzzo della Manta, who maintained the property for over four hundred years.
Castello della Manta History
The magnificent view of the Cottian Alps, dominated by the Monviso massif, is the setting for this famous manor which rises in the immediate surroundings of Saluzzo, on one of the rolling hills of the Varaita valley.
The structure of the castle is the result of later additions to the original building of the twelfth century. The building, transformed over time into a stately home, began to take on its present appearance only at the beginning of the fifteenth century thanks to the work of the noble Saluzzo della Manta family, originated by Valerano, illegitimate son of the Marquis Tommaso III di Saluzzo. With the extinction of this branch of the family in the late 1700s, it was abandoned and fell into ruin. From the Saluzzo it passed to the Radicati, then to the Provana and finally to the de Rege Thesauro. After the donation to the FAI, in 1984, the restoration and restoration works were started that brought the complex back to its original condition.
The complex includes: a tower, some remains of towers disappeared on the high walls, the large garden, the large frescoed rooms. The castle is "to be admired calmly", according to the motto of the counts of the Manta, as we read on the chimney at the side of the entrance: leit leit, adagio adagio.
Between 1416 and 1426 a master painter, still anonymous despite numerous attempts at attribution, by order of Valerano frescoed the baronial hall, performing one of the most significant examples of late Gothic art in Piedmont. The cycle of frescoes represents a series of heroes and heroines illustrated according to the classical iconographic tradition, while they wear precious dresses according to the fashion of the fifteenth century. On the opposite wall, instead, there is the theme of the Fountain of Youth, where characters of various ages and ages immerse themselves in a hexagonal fountain to emerge young and regenerated, ready to live for eternity.
On the second floor there is one of the rooms where one of the greatest mysteries of the castle is hidden: in fact, in the ceiling of one of the rooms on the second floor there is a globe surrounded by a large "O" followed by the inscription: SPIRITUS INTUS ALIT ie "The spirit breathed in", it portrays in addition to Europe, the entire coast of America and that of Antarctica although it is very likely a fresco dating back to the period between 1418 and 1430 like all the other frescoes of the castle , a puzzle that still fascinates art lovers and historians.