Castle of Incisa Scapaccino

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


The dedieval castle built probably in the 11th century.

All that remains today of the ancient manor is the tower.

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

The castle of Incisa has very ancient origin and was the seat of the Marquis of Incisa, very powerful lords who played a major part in the history of the area.

For this reason, the fortification, over the centuries, was at the center of numerous episodes of warfare.

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

Incisa was the head of a powerful marquisate, whose boundaries remained unchanged for many centuries.

Its territory extended on the two sides of the lower valley of the Belbo River, from the heights of Vaglio, to the first expanses of the Alessandria plain, encompassing 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 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 in the late 13th century and restored in the following century.

It was partly damaged again by a mine during the siege in 1514 by Marquis William of Monferrato.

The castle, once again restored, fell into ruin 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 entered through the 15th-century gate of Valcazara, which has a wide central arch flanked by a smaller "posterla" and strong splay.

Some information about its structure and the works that had made this fortress famous over time comes to us from documentary sources of the 15th century and in particular from some notarial acts preserved in the State Archives of Alessandria.

From their consultation we can learn the names of the gates, the drawbridges, the walls, the moat that surrounded them, the church dedicated to St. Michael and other defense works.

The medieval topographical unit consisted of the "castrum," the power center of the Marquises of Incisa, and the two villages, the Villa and the Ghiare, which rose around the fortified nucleus protected by the circle of walls. The castle of Incisa 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 contrada "de barbacanis" (today's Via Umberto I). At the edge of the contrada were the humble dwellings of the rustics and the "apoteche" that formed, along the eastern slope of the hill, the Villa whose boundaries are specified in heading XXXIII of the Statutes.

Three gates opened in the outer circle of walls:

  • the Porta dei Rota, named after the families who lived nearby, was at the southern end of the contrada "de barbacanis" where today the "largo Artizia" is placed.
  • the Porta di San Giovanni, so called after the patron saint of the provostship to which it tended, was at the opposite end of the same contrada where today there is the square named after Captain L. Bezzi overlooked by the seventeenth-century Beccaria Incisa palace.
  • the Porta di Valcanzara was opened in the mid-fifteenth century to give more convenient communication to the Carmelite convent founded in those years on the hillock overlooking the Belbo valley.

From here departed the second town wall of which some traces of walls remain, and in one section it retains a cylindrical tower protruding from a rampart.

The "burgo Glarearum," which derived its name from its proximity to the Belbo riverbed, occupied the area set back from the western slopes of the hill. It too was surrounded by walls interrupted by two gates:

one in the upper part communicating with the Villa and surmounted by a high tower; the second, called "subtana," gave communication with the "ruata," the road traveled by wheeled vehicles.

The defensive works were demolished in July 1514 by Marquis William of Monferrato, who had long aspired to take over Incisa.

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


Mondi medievali

Wikipedia, l'enciclopedia libera.

See also...

• Events in Incisa Scapaccino

• Incisa Scapaccino tourist guide

• Municipium, the App of your Municipality