In the countryside near the city of Brescia stands the Padernello manor, which, towards the end of the 1300s, was a simple defensive tower protected by a moat.
Starting in 1391, the structure became the property of the Martinengo, a family of mercenary soldiers who left their homeland of Bergamo during the 12th century to move to the outskirts of Brescia to serve the Duchy of Milan and, later, the Republic of Venice.
The Martinengos dedicated themselves to the expansion of the buildings, carrying out numerous modifications over the centuries until the complex was transformed into a stately villa in the 18th century. The manor consists of two floors: the ground floor, the oldest dating back to the 15th-century, and the so-called noble floor from the 18th century.
In 1834, the property of the Martinengos passed to the Salvadego family of Venice, who remained there until the 1960s. From that moment on, the place was abandoned, neglected, and exposed to the elements, so much so that in 2002, due to snowfall, part of the manor collapsed.
In 2005, the municipality in collaboration with a group of entrepreneurs bought the building and the manor was given to the Castello di Padernello Foundation, which is responsible for boosting up and promoting through guided tours.
Today, the working drawbridge, the keep, the kitchens with the original terracotta floor, the dining room, the courtyard, the frescoed coat of arms of the Martinengo family (i.e. a red eagle on a gold background), the chapel, and many other rooms are still visible.
Near the manor, it is also possible to cross into the woods by means of the San Virgilio bridge, which was made by the Lodi artist Giuliano Mauri utilizing chestnut tree trunks, a choice in line with the Art in Nature movement.
Know Before You Go
The castle can only be visited with a guided tour. Check the website for hours and ticket prices.