The Castle of Zumelle, full of charm and crossroads of medieval stories, stands in a valley inserted in the naturalistic environment of Valbelluna.
Castello di Zumelle History
The history of the Castle of Zumelle is very ancient, so much so that it assumed that the place was already fortified in Roman times. The strategic position of the castle was in fact the ideal site to watch over the Roman military road Claudia Augusta Altinate, a gateway to the heart of Europe.
The barbarian invasions that took place in those years and the subsequent destruction of Roman structures and roads reduced the castle to a pile of ruins. It is then that, according to legend, the fortifications were refounded by Genseric, a trusted man of Amalasunta queen of the Ostrogoths.
For the following centuries until the High Middle Ages the castle was the scene of bloody feudal struggles undergoing numerous sieges and devastations. The Castle is disputed between the potentates of Belluno, Feltre, Ceneda (Vittorio Veneto) and Alta Marca trevigiana. It is the year 737 when Liutprando, Lombard King, subdued the court of Zumelle, immediately disputed by Giovanni count of Belluno with bloody fights, so that in 750 he had to rush to Astolfo, Lombard king, to redeem the war.
Otto I of Saxony, emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, in 963 invests the bishops of political powers entrusting him with feudal charges. The Zumelle county is given to the Bishops of Belluno.
In 1037 the castle passes, by order of Corrado II il Salico, to his protégé Baron Abelfredo who dies without male heirs and leaves the possessions to his daughter Adelaita who takes Valfredo di Colfosco as her husband. His daughter Sofia marries Guecello da Camino, resulting in a union of the vast fiefdoms of the upper part of Treviso and of the entire Belluna Valley.
Unreliable texts give Sofia da Camino, Countess of Zumelle, oppose in arms no less than to Federico Barbarossa in 1160, rushed to give strength to the Castellani of San Cassiano, besieged by Cristiano da Magonza, vicar of the Emperor. The valiant Sofia died in 1177 in Mareno di Piave and was buried in the Abbey of Follina, where it is still located, confirming the close links between the fiefdoms of the Alta Marca and Val Belluna.
The maximum splendor of the castle is from this period. It could have been equipped with four walls and four towers, as well as a strong military garrison.
The will of Sofia is again a reason for discord and disputes between Caminesi, Zumellesi, Bellunesi and the county is divided into two parts. The dispute was resolved in Venice, then neutral, and confirmed by Federico Barbarossa on 2 June 1177.
In 1192 the patriarch Gottifredo excommunicated the inhabitants of Treviso and in the discussions the Pope Clement III and the Emperor Arrigo IV intervened, giving the Bishop of Trento the right to resolve the dispute. The bishop of Belluno, Gerardo, repossess the County and Zumelle Castle and this is a pretext to unleash devastation of countries between the armed Treviso and Padua, he came to the aid of the Bishop for the Emperor's order. On 18 June 1193, the excommunication of the inhabitants of Treviso was removed and the sentence handed down definitively entrusted to the Bishop of Belluno all the possessions of Sofia. It is also decided to break down the Castle of Zumelle not to give rise to further grounds for contention. But the inhabitants of Treviso resort to the emperor Henry IV, who cancels the sentence.
The Bishop's anger strikes over all the castles occupied by the Treviso area in the Belluno area. On 6 April 1196 he besieged the castle and, after a bloody assault, conquered it, set it on fire and destroyed it. The other famous castles end as well: Castel Mirabello di Sedico, Castel Landredo, Castel d'Ardo (Trichiana), the Tagliata di Quero, the tower-fortress at Praderadego.
Treviso's vengeance does not wait and, guided by Valperto da Onigo, Treviso troops enter the Belluno area bypassing the Praderadego. The bishop is wounded, taken prisoner and led to death with atrocious suffering, Valperto is killed in battle on the field. Pope Innocent III excommunicates the inhabitants of Treviso and the city suffers a heavy embargo.
Rizzardo da Camino, imperial vicar, regains possession of the castle in 1311 and rebuild it in its present form, leaving a small military garrison there. But the great feudal epic ended and the political and military decadence gradually matures.
One last blaze, in the literal sense of the word, takes place with the plunder, by the imperial troops associated with the League of Cambrai, in 1510. The castle and the whole valley of Feltre, Feltre in particular, are put on fire.
Zumelle is readily restored, but the complex becomes more like a country home and shelter farmers, with the long, sleepy 'pax' Venetian and disposal of military roles of all the medieval buildings with the demolition of many castles. Owners for three centuries the counts Zorzi, lords of Mel, then passed to the wealthy Venetian family of Gritti and then, to the fall of Venice, confiscated by the new Austrian masters.
But the time has given us the Castle of Zumelle as the best preserved of Belluno: the structure has two large reception rooms, along with the inner courtyard, where they can find hospitality for up to 150 people.
The restaurant, housed in a stone cottage adjoining the medieval manor, offers an intriguing menu that in its simplicity is suitable for lunches and dinners as well as themed evenings, weddings and celebrations. The cuisine is renowned for its regional gastronomy and for the choice of genuine raw materials with particular attention to local products.
Easy to access thanks to the large parking at the foot of the castle, it has open spaces ideal for summer evenings.
The bed and breakfast inside the manor has three rooms, which welcome guests in an environment of great charm in a green oasis and natural spaces ideal for hiking, cycling and horseback.