Where the family home really is a castle

Nestled among the green hills of the Italian province of Parma, the atmosphere of Tabiano Castle is that of a home full of charm and grandeur.

Ti Gong

The strikingly beautiful ballroom in the left wing is decorated with beautiful fresco in gold tones.

Nestled among the green hills of the Italian province of Parma, the atmosphere of Tabiano Castle is that of a home full of charm and grandeur. 

Privacy, elegance, genuine spirit are the fundamental elements of this exclusive property, owned by the Corazza family.

The Corazzas are an ancient family of patricians, from the Val di Blenio, in the canton of Ticino in Switzerland, where its history dates back to 1400.

At the end of 1700 the family settled in Italy, in Parma, and bought a large farm in the plain.

Giacomo Corazza and his wife Rosa Gatti explored the hilly hills surrounding Parma looking for a home to bring up their children and found Tabiano Castle.

It was love at first sight.

The castle dates back to the 11th century and was built originally as a fortified stronghold of the Pallavicino family, one of the most powerful families of the era, which strategically dominated the Taro river valley.

When the couple found the castle, they immediately decided it would be their home, even if, due to its poor condition, they had to invest considerable money to renovate it.

The castle was in a serious state of disrepair and ruin: Many walls had collapsed, the interior was devastated with weeds everywhere. 

It was fortunately not a major obstacle for Rosa as she had inherited a large fortune from her father, Carlo, also known in London as the “King of Ice” — he owned a fleet of ships importing ice from Norway to London.

He was also involved in many other businesses in the city, including restaurants, cafes and concerts. 

The couple rebuilt the battlements of the castle and the guard tower and built up vast terraces and greenhouses to protect rare lemons and plants during the winter.

They also gathered the best artists and skilled craftsmen from the region to embellish the interior with frescoes, stucco on the ceilings, boiseries, fireplaces and marble staircases.

The cellars, the stable, the administration offices and a chapel were also rebuilt.

The castle has more than 1,000 years of history.


Ti Gong

The family dining room is spacious and stunning, decorated with a fresco similar to that by Leonardo da Vinci for the Castello Sforzesco in Milan.

“As the Corazza family we are now at the sixth generation,” said Giacomo Corazza Martini, who is 88 years old and “the Patriarch” of the family.

“In the sixth generation, there are six cousins who live between Rome, Paris, Brussels and Stockholm.” 

“Tabiano is the place where the family gathers together and really feels home,” he said.

“We are very grateful to all our ancestors for keeping the castle with such great care and love.

“One day I hope the young generation will work all together and do their part to keep maintaining this castle to be as beautiful and charming as it is.”

Tabiano, as one of the most important defensive buildings of the feudal era in High Emilia, still retains the look of a true fortress.

It consists of two large wings and a central part, with a loggia and a tower overlooking a large panoramic terrace. 

The left wing is the one inhabited by the family and therefore with bedrooms and lounges used for everyday life.

The right wing is the representative part, with two lounges, a dining lounge with a grand fireplace, library, music lounge and ballroom, decorated with beautiful fresco in gold tones. 

The bedrooms also feature beautiful frescoes, with sleeping angels, dreamy girls and rose crowns, which were considered very fashionable at the end of 19th century.

The idea was to make a stern building cozy and charming, transforming it into a noble and tasteful home that could accommodate guests like the Queen of Italy, Margherita of Savoy, who came to the castle to visit cardinal-scientist Pietro Maffi who was spending his holidays at Tabiano.

There are also large cellars where until recently the wine and the parmesan cheese were kept.

 As for the interior, Rosa did the refurbishments with the theme in the style of the end of the 18th century, even though inside the castle there are much older furnishings and books.

Especially in the library where there are books from the 1500s that come from the family of Martini Counts scholars and bibliophile enthusiasts. 

The family dining room is spacious and stunning, decorated with a fresco similar to that by Leonardo da Vinci for the Castello Sforzesco in Milan — a large tree decorated with the coat of arms of the great families who owned Tabiano: Pallavicino, Visconti, Malaspina, Douglas Scotti and more.

The beautiful collection of elaborate blue-and-white plates on the walls comes from England and are part of a service that was used in the family since the mid-1900s.


Ti Gong

The welcoming, intimate “Red Sitting Room” where the family spends most of the time.


Next to the dining room is a welcoming, intimate “Red Sitting Room” where the family spends most of the time.

“It is thus called because of the dark brick color of the velvet sofas, and is a place of particular charm,” Giacomo said.

Meanwhile, on the walls there is a wallpaper with original gold leafs of late 1800s; the chandelier is of hanging crystals and the ceiling is painted with the monograms of Giacomo and Rosa.

There is a fully functional marble fireplace, under a mirror decorated with gold plum.

And then there are photographs of almost all the ancestors and a small balcony with spectacular views.

 Apart from the bedrooms and the dining room, a place where the family spends time often is also the office where family management has always been carried out.

The desks are still those of 100 years ago and on the walls there are the portraits of the head of the family and the stern but reassuring ones of Carlo Gatti, the “King of Ice,” to whom the museum of ice in London was dedicated.

Since May, 2016, the castle has opened its doors to guests, who are looking for the experience of a place of great beauty and elegance.

Part of the castle has become a charming resort featuring 40 rooms, suites and apartments, divided between the old guard tower and the original main residence.



Special Reports
Top