Castelletto at Torreglia
The so-called “Castelletto” is a small complex of constructions standing on top of a hill. It is set in the district of Vallorto, one of the most ancient hamlets in Torreglia. Its origin can be traced back to 899 AD, when the Lombard emperor Berengar I ordered the fortification of the Euganean territory to defend the population from barbarian raids. Likely three castles arosen in this period in the area of Torreglia: one in Luvigliano, another on the hill of Castelletto and a third on the hill of Mira, where the bell tower of the church of San Sabino seems to coincide with the remains of the tower originating the toponym “Turricla” (later Torreglia), mentioned for the first time in 1077. Starting from the thirteenth century, reliable sources certify that the Castelletto was owned by the wealthy Paduan family of Bibi, in the service of the tyrant Ezzelino da Romano. In the second half of the 15th century it was owned by the canon Matteo Aliprandi, who chose it as a place of meditation as well as for holiday or recreation. The last noble owner of this place was Elisabetta Aliprandi, who died of the plague in 1576; she appointed the Benedictine monks of the Abbey of Santa Giustina of Padua as her heirs, provided that on top of the hill they erected a church dedicated to the Madonna della Misericordia, Our Lady of Mercy, where to bury her. The Benedictine monks organized the property in an real farm, consisting of 700 fields of which 300 were in the woods. The history of this farm and its religious center was interrupted by the Napoleonic confiscations against Santa Giustina: in 1810 the entire estate was purchased along with the assets of the Abbey of Praglia, by a rich merchant, Angelo Comello. Between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the property was transferred to the family Giovanelli and then to the Order of the Knights of Malta, but it was dismembered after World War II. The complex on the hill is currently the residence of the family Todeschini-Lovisatti, while the buildings that once were the home of the steward with outbuildings (cellar, stables, dovecote tower, orchard, bread oven) are today owned by the wineries Bernardi.
The Castelletto at Torreglia, born as a place of defense, later turned into an aristocratic residence and subsequently transformed into monastery, still retains a strong suggestive atmosphere. Towering above the hills and surrounding countryside, it invites to contemplation and meditation. Every year at the end of October the custom of celebrating the end of the harvest still survives with the traditional “sagra” the “Ancient Festival of Castelletto”, which thanks to the availability of their respective owners, offers the opportunity to visit both the manor complex and the ancient gastaldia, steward household.