La Tour de Villa Castle
Castles and towers
Located in a position slightly higher then the Church of Sainte-Marie-Madeleine, is the Castle of the Lords of La Tour de Villa.
The ancestor of this lineage was Guido, cited in a pact sanctioning his alliance with the Count of Savoy for the storming of the fort of Bard in 1242. The last male descendant of the lineage was Grat Philibert de La Tour who died in 1693. The family crest is a golden lion, with red claws and tongue, rearing up on a black shield, accompanied by the motto “Praecibus et Operibus” (with prayers and work). The castle then was passed by inheritance to the Aymoniers and Carrels and was used for the charity fund of the Saint Laurent parish in Aosta, and for this reason it was named “Tour des pauvres” (the tower of the poors). Falling into ruin, the castle was sold in 1864 to a certain Vincent Carlin, who sold it, in turn, in 1885, to the Bishop of Aosta of the era, Auguste Duc, who restored it and made it his summer residence. In 1921, it was passed to the Gerbore barons of Saint-Nicolas and since 1945, has belonged to a family of Milan.
Originally, La Tour de Villa castle was comprised almost entirely of the central tower.
The restoration works did not re-build the western part and the northern part, leaving instead a beautiful court yard with views over the plain.
Today, the complex is made up of two well-distinct parts: one part is the 12th Century tower and the other inhabited part is a semi-circular structure which dates back to the 15th Century. The tower, which has a square base, stands in the centre of the buildings situated on a rock which emerges from the ground. Long chocks are placed at the base of the walls, especially in the corners. Two doors both situated on the north side open externally: the original door has a height of 7.40m with a solid frame, the other, which is accessed via a double staircase, was opened during the restoration works of the 19th Century.
On the inside, the tower is divided into three floors with a wooden granary accessed by a spiral staircase. The roof of the tower is a lead platform, with battlements and a magnificent viewpoint. The living area, which has double windows of exquisite workmanship, is spread over three floors. The following rooms are of particular interest: the reception room with its monumental hall, the Chapel, in which the paintings were due to the Artari, the hall of arms, where all the crests of the main noble families of the Aosta Valley are displayed, surmounted by the crest of the House of Savoy.