The Castello Dal Pozzo property is situated in the small village of Oleggio Castello, on the hills overlooking Arona on the shores of Lake Maggiore, in the heart of the morenic amphitheatre of the lower Verbano. The Castello itself is built on a wide terrace half way down the gentle sloping hills, and offers magnificent views of the Lake right down to the River Ticino, whilst the recently restored Palazzo, now a luxury boutique hotel, is connected to the Park by a small bridge over the dividing rural road.
The actual villa was built on the remains of a late medieval Visconti Castle and it is still possible to admire some of the original stone walls. It belonged, at that time, to the Visconti D’Aragona family, Lords of Invorio and later Lords of Milan. When the Marquis Alberto Visconti inherited the he decided to turn it into an english style summer residence. Well known literary figures such as Massimo d’Azeglio, Alessandro Manzoni and Ruggiero Bonghi, as well as the Princess Christina Belgioiosa, patron of the arts, were often to be found as guests.
It was, however, the Marquis Claudio Dal Pozzo d’Annone, who having bought the villa from his uncle in 1874, decided to give full reign to his artistic passion and turn the house into a sumptuous representation of neo-gothic art based on the english gothic architecture of the 15th Century, of which he was a profound scholar and great admirer. English art experts have recently described the villa’s architecture as “one of the purest reinterpretations of neo-gothic Tudor existing in Italy”
Nicki Dal Pozzo has been living and looking after the Castello for the last thirty years, ever since marrying one of the owners. Turning a derelict “pile” into a working stately home has been a lifetime’s work, culminating in the opening, at Christmas of last year, of the 17th century Palazzo attached to the Castello, as a small luxury boutique Hotel with a modern Conference Centre and 30 bedrooms.
Her musings are her way of letting off steam when the problems of
running the property get the better of her. But then the dogs, a Rotweiler, 2 labradors and an ancient Alsatian, come to her rescue and she goes out into the Park for a walk and “5 minutes” of weeding.