Via S. Antonio, 645
Montagna in Valtellina (Sondrio)
» look at the map
Tel. 0342 380994
Società Enologica Valtellinese's donation, 1987
Every day except working Mondays 10am-6pm: from March to September
10am-5pm: from October to mid- December and during February
Last entry half an hour before closing time
Castello de Piro - more often referred to as Castel Grumello (from “grumo”, meaning “hillock” or “high ground”) due to the rocky elevation on which it is constructed - was erected between the late 13th century and the early 14th by Corrado de Piro, a Ghibelline who moved to Valtellina as a result of the factional battles that pitted Milan against Como, his hometown. The de Piro family successfully retained their domain until 1372, the year in which the investiture was ceded to Tebaldo Capitanei. After further vicissitudes, which saw it for a time become the residence of the Bishop of Como, the Castle – situated in border country and, therefore, subject to various invasions – met with the same inauspicious fate as many other fortresses in Valtellina, being reduced to rubble by the Grigionis in 1526.
An unusual feature of the Castle is its twin structure: what is now the eastern ruin originally had a military purpose, thanks to its excellent strategic position, whereas what is now the western ruin was rectangular in shape and served as an aristocratic residence. Internally, the Castle has been refurbished, and the ancient “Sala caminata” (fireplace room) has been made fit for human habitation once again. Each of the two sections has its own tower, and between the two there is an enormous natural expanse, partially cultivated with vines and partially characterised by rough and smooth rocks that surround a wealth of sub-Mediterranean flora and grasses. A long-running archaeological excavation between the two buildings brought to light a number of significant remnants of the walls, contributing to the Castle’s modern-day reputation as an exceptionally “romantic ruin”. Underneath the high ground of Grumello, the remains of two churches complete the Castle complex: the Oratory of San Rocco (which was once the Castle Church of San Antonio); and, facing the valley floor, the imposing 17th-century mass of the Church of San Antonio. Last but not least, there is the wonderful panorama of the Orobic Alps, which takes in everything from Mount Legnone, through the Aprica Pass, all the .