Construction on Fossano's castle was begun in 1314 by Filippo d'Acaja.
The same site was previously occupied by a defensive fortification, known as the "bicocca", built shortly after 1236.
An initial enlargement began in 1324 and the castle's essential sections were finished by 1332. The structure had a square floor plan with square towers set at 45 degrees on the corners.
When the Acaja family line died out, Fossano castle passed to the Savoys and was transformed by Amedeo, Duke of Aosta, into an elegant residence, able to host the whole court and the ducal government.
Further renovations were carried out to the building in the 16th century with the aim of making it even more comfortable, and Giovanni Caracca was commissioned to decorate the interior.
The castle's golden age was between the 16th and 17th centuries, when Christine Marie of France lived there. It was embellished with stuccowork and paintings, almost all lost today, while two towers had panoramic balconies added to them.
More enlargements took place in the 17th century when the castle was transformed into a prison and the large halls were turned into small cells. This marked a period of decline for the building.
In 1689, religious persecution led to 1,800 Waldensians dying from hardship while locked up in the prisons. In the 19th century the castle became a military barracks, and later a veterinary school.
Restoration works were carried out in the second half of the 20th century, returning the Acajas' fortress to its original splendour, and it was adapted for use as the town library and the state archive.
The guided tour leads visitors from the large arcaded loggia to the guards' lookout points, allowing them to discover this majestic 14th-century brick construction which dominates the historic centre of Fossano and has become a symbol of the town. Starting from the courtyard and passing through the large halls, home since 1985 to the civic library, visitors arrive at the "Sala delle Grottesche", the hall of the grotesques, frescoed by Giovanni Caracca. The visit concludes with a climb up an observation tower.
Cuneo Levaldigi airport, library.
Local sights: church of the SS. Trinità, cathedral of S. Maria e S. Giovenale, church of San Filippo, San Giorgio, SS Trinità, church of the Gonfalone, church of the Battuti Neri, San Giovanni Battista, chapel of the Posa, Madonna dei Campi, cathedral museum, Bava castle in S.Lorenzo
In the area: Cussanio sanctuary, Benevagienna and the Augusta Bagiennorum archaeological site
Typical products: fresh and cured beef, veal and pork; puciu (Trinità medlars); Grana Padano DOP cheese; Cuneo beans; vegetables
Sports: free Bicincittà bike rental service, sports hall with climbing wall and basketball
Events: patron saint's day dedicated to St. Juvenal (first Sunday in May), "Palio dei Borghi e Giostra De L'oca" medieval pageant (second-to-last weekend in June), Piedmontese agricultural days, "Fiera del Vitello Grasso", "Expoflora" and spring fair, "Pomeriggi Favolosi" reading dates for children in the library