CastelBrando, former Castrum Costae, is a medieval castle situated on a dolomite limestone rock overlooking the villages of Cison di Valmarino and Valmareno. The name CastelBrando is due to the name Brandolini, the ancient family from Forlì, who were the Lords of the castle.

CastelBrando was originally built in the Roman age as a defensive fortress in order to protect the important lines of communication which connected Northern Italy to the countries on the other side of the Alps. The original castrum, dating from 46 AD is still visible today. The original Roman baths have also been excavated, as have the original pipes of the aqueduct which supplied water from three nearby natural springs. These springs still provide water for the castle today.

During the European Migration Period the fortress became an important defensive position against barbarian invasions. Over the centuries the castle has been subject to numerous enlargements and renovations. During the 13th century the castle was substantially enlarged while under the ownership of the Da Camino family. Their architectural additions included surrounding the castle with imposing Guelph-Ghibelline style battlements and building a central tower.

The Castle's ownership then passed over to the Republic of Venice. After the fall of Venetian Republic in 1797, it was passed down through the family of Giovanni Brandolino and became the property of the Brandolini Counts, an ancient family from Forlì. In the first half of the 16th century Antonio Maria Brandolini (1476–1522), commissioned skilled engineers to enlarge the central part of the castle in Sansovino style, adding Venetian Gothic double and triple mullioned windows. In 1700 the Brandolini family commissioned Ottavio Scotti, architect and Count of Treviso, to design and build an extension to the southern part of the castle. Part of these works included the building of a castle chapel, the Church of San Martino. The chapel was decorated internally with frescoes painted by Egidio Dall'Oglio (18th century).

During World War I, the castle was invaded by Imperial Austrian forces and used as a military hospital. After 10 years of restoration work, financed by Count Girolamo IV Brandolini (1870–1935), the castle was re-opened as a place of residence in 1929. CastelBrando has now been extensively restored and now houses a 4-star hotel, museum and a theatre. Visitors can get up to the castle by funicular railway from the village.

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Founded: 13th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in Italy

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4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Chiara Barbato (5 months ago)
The castle is really fascinating and it can be visited even on a daily trip without necessarily staying at the hotel. I was pleased by their respect of the Covid19 regulations. The only downside is that there's only 1 guide for tours so one must wait before getting the tickets (which are €8 by the way). Overall, a place that is worth visiting and with a great view of the mountains.
Malina Ivan (6 months ago)
Good place to relax.Good breakfast. The castle is well organized and maintained. It is such a pity that is was raining inside, but they seemed to know the problem and offered us a different room.
Sergi Colomé (7 months ago)
This hotel has probably lived better days. You can expect that the design of a castle is 'antique' but what you can't expect is that the rooms were probably renovated in the 60's for the last time. The bed is extremely bad and you 'sink' when you are laying on it. They don't have a bar/restaurant so you have to go the bar outside the hotel. Also you have to pay 7 euros a day for the parking when there is no other alternative, unless you want to leave your car some km away from the castle. The spa is 25€ and it is pretty good! Special kudos for the guy in the reception! So friendly and helpful!
Pheng Lo (13 months ago)
Great place to visit and relax. The romantic package was good. However, no need to get dress up for the candle light dinner because there is no candle light dinner. You are seat with other diners in a pub style restaurant. No very romantic at all. The 2.5 hours use of the spa is worth it. Just make sure you double check when is check out time. Our spa time was 10am to 12:30PM, but check out was 1200. Luckily our stay was during the off season and the hotel was not very busy, so our check out time was extended to 1PM. The 3 course dinner and 2 course lunch was at the same restaurant and had the same menu for both lunch and dinner. The portion sizes of the meal are BIG. We try different things on the menu and the best dish was the beef steak flank cooked medium rare. The castle grounds was beautiful and you can easily wonder around without getting lost. The chapel is close, but you can see the inside. Overall, we enjoyed our stay, the spa, the location, and the beef steak.
Federico Momesso (13 months ago)
Sunday brunch delight. Well varied breakfast / lunch food including 2 pasta dishes and 2 meat dishes. Price is very good for such an historic location.
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