Incisa Scapaccino Castle

Address: Via delle Mura, 14045 Incisa Scapaccino AT, Italia

Medieval castle probably built in the eleventh century.

Only the tower remains of the old manor.

The building material obtained from the fortress was reused for the construction of civil houses and the parish church of Saints Vittore e Corona.

The castle of Incisa is of rather ancient origin and was the seat of the Marquises of Incisa, very powerful lords, who played an important part in the history of the area. Precisely for this reason, the fortification, over the centuries, was at the center of numerous war episodes.

According to some sources, the origin of the castle of Incisa probably dates back to the 11th century, although certain information only dates back to 1161, when it was bought by Alberto di Bonifacio Del Vasto, who acquired the marquis title.

Incisa was the head of a powerful marquisate, whose borders remained unchanged for many centuries. It extended on the two sides of the lower valley of the Belbo river, from the heights of Vaglio, to the first expanses of the Alexandrian plain, including between the end of the 12th and the beginning of the 13th century, the castle of Incisa, the lands of Vaglio, Cerreto , Castelnuovo, Betonia, Bergamasco and Carentino, as well as part of the Sezzadina, in the Bormida valley and the castles of Montaldo, Rocchetta Tanaro, Bruno, Fontanile, Mombaruzzo, Castelletto Molina, Ricaldone and Alice.

The castle was partially destroyed at the end of the 13th century, and restored in the following century. It was partially destroyed again by a mine during the siege in 1514 by the Marquis Guglielmo del Monferrato. The castle, restored again, fell into disrepair during the bitter wars of succession of Monferrato, the fortification was occupied seven times between 1613 and 1657, by the various contenders.

The ancient part of the village is located at the top of the hill overlooking the town and is accessed through the fifteenth-century door of Valcazara, which has a large central arch flanked by a smaller rear and strong splay.

Some information on its structure and on the works that over time had made this fortress famous come from documentary sources of the fifteenth century and in particular from some notarial deeds preserved in the state archives of Alessandria.

From their consultation it is possible to know the names of the gates, the drawbridges, the walls, the moat that surrounded them, the church dedicated to S. Michele and the other defense works.

The medieval topographical unit consisted of the "castrum", the power center of the Marquis of Incisa, and the two villages, the Villa and the Ghiare that rose around the fortified nucleus protected by the circle of walls. The Incisa castle was protected by a second order of walls and stood on the highest part of the hill overlooking the plain below.

Between the two enclosures ran the "de barbacanis" district (now Via Umberto I). At the edge of the district there were the humble houses of the cottages and the "apoteche" that formed, along the eastern slope of the hill, the Villa whose boundaries are specified in section XXXIII of the Statutes.

In the outer walls there were three doors:

  • The Porta dei Rota, named after the families who lived nearby, was at the southern end of the "de barbacanis" district where today the "Largo Artizia" opens up.
  • The gate of San Giovanni, so called from the name of the patron of the provost to whom it aimed, was located at the opposite end of the same district where today there is the square named after the captain of vessel L. Bezzi on which the seventeenth-century building Beccaria Incisa overlooks .
  • The Porta di Valcanzara, opened towards the middle of the 15th century, was built to give a more convenient communication to the Carmelite convent founded in those years on the hill overlooking the Belbo valley.

From here branched off the second wall of the village of which some traces of walls remain, and in a stretch it preserves a cylindrical tower protruding from a bastion.

The "burgo Glarearum", which took its name from the proximity to the Belbo bed, occupied the area close to the western slopes of the hill. It was also surrounded by walls interrupted by two doors:

  • one in the upper part communicating with the Villa and surmounted by a high tower;
  • the second, called "subtana", communicated with the "ruata", the road traveled by means of transport on wheels.

The defense works were demolished in July 1514 by the Marquis Guglielmo di Monferrato who had long aspired to take possession of Incisa.

All that remains of the medieval castle is a tower stump at the top of the hill, the building material of the destroyed castle, was reused for the construction of civil houses, and in 1732 for the construction of the parish church.

See also...

• Events in Incisa Scapaccino

• Incisa Scapaccino tourist guide

• Municipium, the App of your Municipality