Grazzano Visconti

Grazzano Visconti, recent Middle Ages

It looks like perfectly medieval but it is not. Instead, Grazzano Visconti is the first theme park created for tourism purposes in the not-so-distant-past of 1900! It was then when Duke Giuseppe Visconti di Modrone (father of the film director Luchino Visconti who spent here his childhood) decided to construct a neo-medieval village around his castle. His main motivation was to preserve the original atmosphere of an Italian old-time village, that he was feared to be lost because of the industrialization. The ‘villagers’ were coming from neighborhood areas and were paid to continue their traditional professions. The first visitors belonged to the royal court and the Lombard high society.

The village today is a very popular day-trip destination of northern Italy. The entrance is free although the access to the gardens of the castle is permitted only through guided tours and costs 7 euros. The village has all the usual ‘components’ including churches, restaurants, shops, and one hotel. Everything you’ll see here bears the signature of the Duke Visconti, from the original lay-out to the last decoration details. Useful to know: Grazzano Visconti has his own ghost, Eloisa, a woman who was allegedly betrayed by this lover becoming protector of the women in love!

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