Valeggio is a small village situated near an ancient Roman road that went from Pavia all the way to Sesia, pushing beyond the Alp. The toponym apparently comes from the latin “vallicium”, a small valley, which turned into the dialectal form “vallégia”.
This small valley was inhabited by populations of different prehistoric ages, as demonstrated by the archeological artifacts from an ample necropolis discovered in Cascina Tessera, with tombs dating back to the Bronze Age and other eras, up until the first centuries AD.
The first fortress of “Vallicium” dates back to the Longobard era. According to legend the queen Teodolinda crossed the Roman road, the Regia road, in 590 passing through the territory with her husband Agilulfo, duke of Turin, married in the nearby Lomello. The Regia road was a branch of the more famous Romea road. It went from Ticinum, Pavia, to Laumellum, moving towards Cuttiae, Augusta Taurinorum and the Gallie.
The castle, an impressive building with a trapezoid shape with seven towers, preserves a part from the XIII century as well as many rearrangements in the following centuries.
Designed as a defense fortress (another hypothesis on the origin of Valeggio’s name is that it derives from “vallatio”, a barrier), the town was contended between Pavia and Milan over the course of the XIII century. At first it was donated to the monks of San Salvatore of Pavia in 1288, later it was given by the dukes of Milan to a series of different families who served them. Important historical figures such as Francis I, Charles V and especially Gian Pico della Mirandola, who started here his early education, sojourned in the halls of the castle. The Pico della Mirandola were one of the prominent families the castle belonged to. According to legend, there is an underground place that connects the imposing structure with the Scaldasole castle, which partially shares its history.
Valeggio is among the series of different hunting castles favored by the Visconti and the Sforza. The original stables of the castle, which had granite pillars and vaulted ceilings very similar to the ducal stables of Vigevano, attest to their passion for hunting. Nowadays they can be used as exhibition spaces and guest rooms. Back then they could host many purebred horses.
The Church of the Saints Peter and Paul also originates in the 1400s, although it was rearranged through the centuries. The reconstruction of the facade however follows the original gothic lines of the building.
The association Vigevano Promotions organizes half-day or full day customized itineraries to guide the groups of visitors in the discovery of the stories and legends inside of them.
For information about the guided tours:
tel: +39 351 8782734