The palace was built on the site of an ancient medieval castle.
Ottone del Bosco, lord of Campale and Molare, ceded Molare to Genoa in the early 13th century in exchange for investiture. In 1267, he was succeeded by Tommaso Malaspina, son of Federico and Agnese del Bosco, who built the castle at Cremolino and moved there. The castle in Molare, no longer the feudal lord’s residence, was demolished in 1625.
The tower and the “bridge gate” were knocked down in the early 19th century when Count Celestino Tornielli acquired the castle land and built his palace there. The noble Tornielli family has played an important role in Molare since the 16th century, serving as clerks, procurators, mayors, abbots and so on.
Originally from Novara, from the 12th and 13th centuries onwards the Torniellis owned many feuds around Novara and in Lombardy. The Molare branch received the title of count from the Savoys, and from Charles Albert the noble predicate of Crestvolant.
It seems that the neoclassical-style palace was constructed by Celestino Tornielli’s master builder. On Celestino’s death in 1840, the building was composed of the ground floor and first floor (the main floor), and it was his son, Giovanni, who had the third floor and the two towers added.
The palace interior was frescoed by Ignazio Tosi (1811-1861), a painter from Ovada who was also responsible for the family portrait still hanging in the hall on the ground floor.
Visitors can explore the halls and rooms on the ground and main floors. The two monumental staircases with double flights, decorated with statues, lead to the main floor and make a dramatic impression in the entrance hall. On the ground floor, the “Stanza del Vescovo”, the bishop’s room, has a vaulted ceiling with gilded rosettes on a cobalt-blue background and ornate furnishings. The main reception hall is decorated with gilded stucco in 18th-century style with eight niches holding vases with floral centrepieces and statues of Ganymede and Justice. On the floor above, the billiards room has frescoed ceilings.
Tours also include the old cellars, used today to host events, and are led by Countess Maria Luisa Tornielli.
Local sights: Chiabrera castle, sanctuary of Madonna delle Rocche
In the area: Ovada, Alto Monferrato castles, Acqui thermal baths, wineries
Typical products: wines (Dolcetto d’Ovada and d’Acqui, Cortese del Monferrato, Moscato d’Asti, Brachetto di Acqui, Passito di Strevi), Roccaverano Robiola cheese, Ponzone Filetto Baciato salami
Sport: five-a-side football, tennis; nearby: horseriding, golf, outdoor swimming pools
Events: “Gran Polentone” (third Sunday of August)