Click here to 
Print this page

Biography finder





























Index of first names

Sarmato Castle   


This page is a stub.  You can help improve it.

This is a very large and fortified complex located in the town of Sarmato, in the province of Piacenza. It is situated in the lower Tidone Valley, not far from both the Tidone River and the great Po River in the Po Valley.

History. It is presumed that a fortified village already existed in the year 1216, when the Piacenza and Milanese militias gathered there on Pentecost day before moving towards the Pavia fortresses. In fact, this fortress, along with those of Borgonovo and Castel San Giovanni, served to protect the city of Piacenza from the numerous and imposing incursions coming mainly from the Pavese area. It was one of the most important outposts assigned by the Guelf Piacenza to defend the Val Tidone against enemy incursions, including those launched by the Ghibelline Pavia. It was first owned by the Pallastrelli counts, who saw it semi-destroyed in 1270 during a battle against the Landi di Bardi family.

Around the mid-1300s, the Lombard Duke Galeazzo Visconti invested Bartolomeo Seccamelica as lord of the town, who maintained dominion until the advent of Alberto Scoto or Scotti. Starting from 1410, the new feudal lord of the village had to face numerous battles against the hated Arcelli family, lords of the districts of Rocca D'Olgisio, Borgonovo, and Breno. These fights continued for about twenty years, with the alternation of command between Sarmato and the two families. During one of these disputes, Duke Alberto was captured by the rival militia and imprisoned in the Rocca D'Olgisio. For his release, a ransom of about 10,000 ducats was paid, divided as follows: "ducati 8000, zachi 9 de veludo, pene 1000 de struzo, taze 40 de undze (oncie) 8 zascheduna e corsieri 2 de ducati 500".

Once freed, Alberto Scoto asked the Duke of Milan for help, and with the famous captain Carmagnola, he regained his domains. With the death of Visconti and the subsequent advent of the Sforza in the Milanese lands, Scoto sided with Venice. He was thus forced to fight against the Lombards, who besieged Piacenza; Duke Alberto was one of the most valiant defenders of the city walls. During his absence from Sarmato, Scotti left the command of the municipality to his relative Luigi Dal Verme. In exchange, he plundered the castle and the fief, then sided with the Milanese and went to fight his cousin. In 1448, after the hostilities with Milan ended, Alberto Scoto reclaimed Sarmato from the new feudal lords, but the Sforza waited for the death of Taddeo Dal Verme before returning the town to the Scotti. On March 5, 1462, due to a serious illness, Scoto died; he was buried in the family tomb in the church of San Giovanni, after solemn funerals. There were numerous descendants of Duke Scotti who succeeded him in command of the castle of Sarmato; many of them distinguished themselves as knights and warriors alongside the Farnese dukes in the numerous wars fought by them throughout Europe; others became attendants of various Popes. Philosophers and doctors were also part of this family.

The last descendant of the Scotti of Sarmato was Duke Pietro, who, having no heirs, held the castle until his death in 1863. The manor was then purchased by the Zanardi Landi counts, who still partly own it today. Another part of the medieval building is the town hall. The castle is located to the north, on the ancient bed of the Po River, and has a U-shape. Its walls have been preserved quite well, were surrounded by a moat, and access to its interior was through a powerful drawbridge. The park garden that surrounds it is also very beautiful. It is worth remembering that in October 1922, King Constantine I of Greece stayed in the castle, as a guest of Paola di Ostheim, Princess of Saxony-Weimar.

The village. The entirely brick-built complex is surrounded by walls, still quite evident although somewhat deteriorated over time, which were surrounded by a moat. They enclose a small rectangular village, divided by two perpendicular streets, with houses, three churches, the castle, and the fortress.

The castle complex is enclosed within a quadrangular perimeter of walls, mostly well-preserved, along with two corner towers and an imposing southern entrance consisting of a merlato ravelin with a carriage gate and a postern, both already equipped with a drawbridge; double side embrasures allowed for defense. Two other fortified entrances are preserved on the eastern and western sides, the former of which is now the town hall. The northern side is occupied by a small fortress, which served to repel attacks from the Po River. Inside, there are large halls, partly vaulted and partly coffered, small parlors, bedrooms, all furnished with antique furniture. The history and legend of San Rocco, San Gottardo Pallastrelli, and San Giacomo di Compostela are intertwined in this complex; the statue of the latter is preserved in the fortified village for the devotions of the Romei who stopped here along the pilgrimage to Compostela. In the Middle Ages, Sarmato was an important transit point on the Via Francigena. It remains a significant testimony to the centuries-old hospitality of the Sarmatesi, who chose a pilgrim saint as their patron, recalling Gottardo, who became a pilgrim, and San Giacomo apostle, who attracted millions of pilgrims to Compostela and is venerated with the iconography of a traveler.

See also:
•  Italy section home page

•  Douglas Scotti of Sarmato

•  Scotti Douglas and the Condottieri di Ventura



Conversation with Bing, 04/12/2023
(1) SARMATO CASTLE - Visit Piacenza.
(2) Castello di Sarmato - Histouring.



Any contributions will be gratefully accepted


Back to top


The content of this website is a collection of materials gathered from a variety of sources, some of it unedited.

The webmaster does not intend to claim authorship, but gives credit to the originators for their work.

As work progresses, some of the content may be re-written and presented in a unique format, to which we would then be able to claim ownership.

Discussion and contributions from those more knowledgeable is welcome.

Contact Us

Last modified: Friday, 17 May 2024