Yesterday and today, October 13th and 14th, are the FAI days of autumn: special days because some of the FAI heritage sites are exceptionally open. We have dedicated today’s day to the rediscovery of a nearby place: the Manta castle.
For the FAI days in autumn, the students of the nearby Liceo Bodoni di Saluzzo are the “apprentices ciceroni” that accompany visitors in the discovery of the rooms of the castle. A good initiative to bring young people closer to culture. Moreover, during these two days, for FAI members (like us) there is the possibility to visit the Garden of the Counts, usually closed to the public. Finally, in collaboration with Eplì, a visit to an orchard was organized.
Manta is a small village of less than 4000 inhabitants located in Piedmont, near the perhaps more famous Saluzzo. Despite being so small, the town has a 15th century castle which, thanks to the restoration work carried out and the care of the FAI, is in excellent condition. Reaching Manta by car, the hill with the castle dominates the surrounding plain. Leave your car in the town hall square, where an uphill path will take you to the castle’s gates.
The castle welcomes us with a large kitchen and then continue with a staircase upstairs, where a maze of rooms leads to the Baronial Hall. This long room is frescoed on each wall with late-Gothic paintings with a chivalric theme: on the south wall there is a representation of the Fountain of Eternal Youth, on the opposite wall the Nine Heroes and the Nine Heroines parade, on the mantelpiece a painting huge fresco with the coat of arms of the family and finally, in the niche on the east wall, there is a representation of the crucifixion of Christ. The colors are alive and expressive, the coffered ceiling frames the frescoed images like a real frame. Very nice, even if less striking, the Toom of the Trees, on whose white walls are depicted plants, simple and evocative together. The path inside the castle rooms ends with a small tasting of local products (dandelion honey with dried fruit, croutons with green sauce, apple juice and kiwi and apple and blueberry).
At the end of the visit inside, Silvia leads us into the Garden of the Counts, a small grassy cutout that runs around the castle where the Counts cultivated (and still grow) lemons, oleanders and roses. A quiet place to sit and read a good book or warm up your feet by a dog drinking a chocolate.
The day continues with a trip to an orchard: FAI collaborates with Eplì, a 100% Piedmontese apple whose “brand” has been created by some producers in the Lagnasco area (and surrounding areas). While we reach the orchard, Franco explains what it is and how the Eplì was born: it is an ancient apple variety, resistant to scab, which requires much less treatments than less ancient apple varieties (and, among other, many producers have chosen an entirely organic processing). In short: an apple that respects the environment and the health of those who work and those who eat it. Arriving at the orchard, we are given a bag with which each of us can personally collect two apples to have a snack.
We end the day with a short visit to the Castle Church, which is also full of frescoes.
A couple of clarifications
- The castle of the Manta is always open
- This article was written in complete autonomy, without collaboration either with FAI or with Eplì. If we recommend them both, it is because they have convinced us and because we believe a lot in the work that FAI carries out to preserve Italy’s artistic, cultural and environmental heritage
Here is the video we shot, from our Youtube channel – Enjoy!