The Grand Tour of Today Begins in Ischia di Castro … with Stefano Aluffi-Pentini

Loggia of Rocca Farnese, Ischia di Castro

Ischia di Castro. Not to be confused with the famous island, here we are in one of the most stunning parts of upper Lazio, between the sea and Lake Bolsena. Castro was the capital of the Farnese duchy and razed to the ground in the 17th century on orders from Pope Innocent X. All that remains are its ruins, wrapped in foliage like an Italian Angkor. Antonio Canova, who had recovered the works of art brought to Paris by Napoleon, was rewarded by Pius VII with the title of marchese of Ischia.

The town is dominated by the Palazzo Ducale, an incomplete work by Antonio da Sangallo and long owned by my friend Stefano Aluffi-Pentini. The Palazzo (or the Rocca, as everyone calls it) is a complex structure that Stefano restored with enviable, painstaking care and an especially rare sensitivity to materials: fireplaces, doors and loggias rescued from years of degradation through the well-chosen selection of stone and marble, from travertine to tuff.

Grand Tour
Rocca Farnese, Ischia di Castro

And who knows the secrets of countless Italian residences and extraordinary palaces better than Stefano? In 1996, he founded A Private View of Italy, a website where visitors can learn about the life of historical residences and discover hidden treasures. And also the benefactors of great museums, like the Frick Collection in New York or the Getty Museum, who travelled far and wide in a kind of modern Grand Tour through Italy’s princely collections, picture galleries and gardens. From the “new” world to the old, filled with unforgettable, initiatory experiences.

Ischia di Castro

A Private View of Italy

A Private View of Italy organises trips and events that provide access to private collections and historical residences not open to the public. Founded in 1996 by the art historian Stefano Aluffi-Pentini and operating throughout Italy, our services are addressed to the trustees and major benefactors of international museums, collectors, associations and foundations. Italy’s historical …

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Historical residencesItinerariesLazioVillages