This presentation consists in a short story of  Cereseto castle; lots of books have been written about its events  and the incredible life of its owner.
Inside there were Botticelli’s and Van Dyck works of art .The caste of Cereseto is the result of the work of three men: the french architect Eugenio Viollet Le Duc, the financier Riccardo Gualino e the engineer Vittorio Tornielli from Casale. It has 153 rooms , the habitation  of 6000 gross  square metres and a park of 17000 square metres.

Tra le altre fonti e foto Mirko Carzino

 

BIOGRAPHIES

 

Eugenio Viollet Le Duc (1814 – 1879) influenced the restoration of medieval buildings in Piedmont and all over Europe in 19th century. The construction of  the castle of Cereseto was characterized by french architectural models in  particular  Viollet Le Duc rules, even if italian architects Alfredo D’Andrade and Giuseppe Nigra had done their bit.

 

Riccardo Gualino was born in Biella on the 25th march 1879. His father was a goldsmith. From 1903 Gualino began to know Monferrato area and founded in Casale Monferrato the firm “Riccardo Gualino & C.” that sold wood and cement. In 1905 he transformed it in a society and built the the factory in  Morano Po that produced 400.000 quintals of cement a year.

On the 8th september 1907 Riccardo Gualino married Cesarina Gurgo Salice in  Casale Monferrato Salice and did their honeymoon in Instanbul travelling on the Orient Express.

When they came back they went to live in Guazzo street in gothic style home restored by the engineer Vittorio Tornielli. In 1908 he bought Ricci’s dwelling palace in Cereseto, on which they built the castle. Between 1908 and 1914, Gualino  dedicated his work to cut lumber in the forests of Carpathian mountains.  He built a village with big saw-mills. Because of the great production 20 railways were built to carry the lumber from Carpathian mountains to Galaetz harbour, from which it was shipped all over the world. Then he sold his society to an english financial group.

He did the same thing in Russia buying 23.000 hectares of  oak and pines forest in Listwin into Volinia region. He bought in Petersburg a wide ground near the sea called Golodaj with the help of general Ranch, and there he built new and luxurious buildings, creating “New Petersburg” with the financial help of 2.800.000 pounds by Austin Chamberlain English bank.

But during the first six months of 1914, when the zar had already inaugurated the first suburb, and the contract signed,  Gualino received a call from the general who was saying him to go there, he tried to do it without success and came back to Italy:  the war broke out and his properties in Russia were forever lost.

On the 8th december 1919 Gualino and his wife moved from Casale Monferrato to Turin. When the Fisrt World War ended he organized the coal transport for the Italian government from America; he had participations in French and English banks, “Credito Italiano”, magazines, Italian societies (like Giovanni Agnelli’s Fiat of which he was member and vice president) he bought important shipyards in Texas and  Pascagoula near Missisipi river, founded Snia (Società Navigazione Italo Americana) Unica (chocolate industry) and in partculart factories for the production of artificial silk in Venaria Reale, Viscosa di Pavia,  Cesano and Abbadia di Stura.

In 1926 with the banker Albert Oustric, founded the Oustric bank with which he financed his fabrics, wools, leather, footwear and cement industries.

Gualino’s position was so important that in 1925 he was considered one of the most important european men in Europe. In this period he built his magnificent villa in Sestri Levante (today it’s a hotel) and big palaces in Turin . He had the feeling of beauty, he was patron of many artistic activieties, and create his own picture-gallery that then he gave to Galleria Sabauda of Turin.

He backed  lots ofexcellent theatrical performances.

 

Vittorio Tornielli (1870-1963) was the right person for such an important project; he belong to a family of Casale. He had a degree in engineering and mathematics and was a teacher. They met in Cereseto

The engineer superintended the work between 1909 and 1913.

The architect was Vittorio Tornelli wh wrote about it: “It’s a monumental building in piedmontese-lombard style of the end of 15th century”.

Before beginning the works Tornielli built Mirafiori’s stable for the breeding of the horses, restored the civic tower of Casale, the palace of Carretto, the castle of Pomaro, the sephulcre of friars of Crea, the building of the bank of Italy of Casale, and the baroc palace of Mombello Monferrato and many other works in Moncalvo.

 

 

THE CASTLE

 

Riccardo Gualino delegated not not only the project and the  realization to Vittorio Tornielli but wanted him to find authentic furniture to furnish the castle. Gualino wanted a grandious home in a severe style with an  elegant arcade with paintings, decorations on the walls  and windows with terracotta ornaments; Tornielli drew inspiration from the castle of Issogne (Aosta).

The engineer looked all around Italy  velvets, ceramics, some forniture and many paintings.

The inside of the castle consisted in 156 rooms included two galleries to enter it, two dining rooms, two bedroms, a music room, some rest rooms, the kitchen, the red salon, a little library painted with poets, writers and philosopher pictures, Guarino’s family private church was built with red bricks and carved tufa and many others unused rooms. The year 1913 was painted on the ceiling and the walls.

It included a wonderful arms room even if it was unused because Vittorio Tornielli wanted to create a truthful medieval castle.He procured fireplaces from Egypt and and Middle-East.

The artificial caves and dens inside the park were built to give hospitality to chamois, mouflons, swans and ostrichs. Towards west there was an aviary with rare species.

There was an enormous glass-house and a big orchard; under it a vineyard that exetended for many hectares. The name of the vineyard was “la colonnella” since its owner was a retired colonel known as Clivio.

During the construction they dig a well  to feed the castle, the artificial lakes, the fountains, and the streams.

There were collections of ceramics, glasses, dishes, arms, cloths and tapestries, lockets, paintings, bronzes, ecc…

Many works of art like Andrea Giusto’s triptych, Matteo da Gualco’s lunette, Van Dyck’s Sofonisba Anguissola’s painting were after presented to “Galleria Sabauda”.

The castle gave hospitality to many famous personages like the painter Felice Casorati who painted there under Gualino’s supervision.

In 1922 the Romanesque little church planned by engineer Tornielli was completed. Two years later the first monument dedicated to the fallen of the First World War of Cereseto was inaugurated.

The opening day of the caste, the same of the 5th wedding anniversar (Septempber 8th in 1912), the owners and their friens wore 15th century clothes; medieval environment seemed come back to life.

After Gualino’s crash and the seizure of his estates, the castle declined and was abandoned

In 1924 Riccardo Gualino gave the kindergarten, where today there is the town hall and the memorial tablet in memory of those who fell for their country to the town . He bought it in Russia (probably in Leningrad) and he had to be put at the basement of the monument dedicated to Nicola II in Saint-Petersburg, but never put there because of the communist revolution .

The Bank of Italy sequestrated the castle in 1928 (valued for 800millions Liras).

A part of  the furniture of the castel were sold on auction and used to furnish  Italian embassy in London a Londra and the other part went to Galleria Sabauda of Turin. The antique fireplace of 17th century style and the ceiling of the red salon  were sold to the castle of Balzola .

 

 

 

On Sale

The building is part of the artistic patrimony but there isn’t any restriction on condition that the outward appearance isn’t modified. Future profits will be tax free thanks to a law about ancient  buildings; this is interesting for any society that wants to assign a part of its profits to the management of the castle.

To restore the castle Italian government finances the 30%.

Technical aspects  and any other detail about this operation have already been checked by Gogna srl that is the only authorized agent for both the parties to be the intermediary.

Best regards