Today the castle stands in a complex of buildings constructed in various periods, between the sixteenth and the beginning of the eighteenth centuries. Although such buildings are often difficult to date, it appears that the oldest part of all these buildings is the base that surrounds the complex.
The large central tower bears the Visconti coat of arms, which dates back to the middle of the sixteenth century; the basement of the tower includes a stone room with a cistern and a deep well that was closed in 1912. With a design that dates back to the eighteenth century, the tower once appeared taller than it does today, as it was buried up to its first ridge. You may further note the presence of another tower, which was chopped off and converted into a laundry house.
On the porch that provides access to the internal courtyard, called the “small gentlemen’s courtyard”, hang sixteenth century frescoes and decorations in which coats of arms are depicted side-by-side with scenes of rustic rural life, including landscapes that appear similar Vergante’s. The northmost building in this courtyard is from the same period and has a frescoed wall complete with fake columns that match those on the front porch, which still exists today.
A balconette on the perimeter fence allows you to look out on the road below and on the so-called Visconti quarter that was once dependent on the castle. The park to the north is enclosed by walls topped with large gneiss globes. An ornate glass main door provides access to the inner courtyard; the period style buildings that enclose this courtyard to the north were built from 1910-1912 and were once used as a caretaker’s lodge, while the side that faces the lake features panoramic terraces that once cultivated gardens and orchards.
The transformation of the ancient castle into a manor house endowed the residence with ample wine cellars, highlighting the preeminent interest of the landowners in conserving the in-kind proceeds for the wine that they collected from their subjects. The castle eventually became a summer home where the Visconti, who had by then made a permanent move to Milan, spent their vacation time. It was actually during one of these holidays in Massino that, on August 19, 1721, Filippo Maria Visconti was born; he was to eventually become the archbishop of Milan. The castle, after changing hands many times, is today property of the heir of the Visconti of San Vito.
To visit on Saturday or Sunday, call: +39 3294 753783