Built in the 13th century on the shores of the river Lambro, it lost its military importance due to changing alliances and was converted into a noble residence in 1383 on the orders of Regina della Scala, wife of Bernabò Visconti, who had the main tower erected and mullioned windows installed along the walls.
After changing hands many times it was acquired by the Bolognini family who, in 1933, entrusted it to the Morando Bolognini Foundation, which administers the property to this day.
The castle is home to three museums: the Morando Bolognini historic house museum (24 rooms) showcasing furniture, paintings and china from the 18th century to the 20th century; museum dedicated to the history of agriculture – from the Neolithic era to the present day – and the museum of bread.References:
The Château d'Olhain is probably the most famous castle of the Artois region. It is located in the middle of a lake which reflects its picturesque towers and curtain walls. It was also a major stronghold for the Artois in medieval times and testimony to the power of the Olhain family, first mentioned from the 12th century.
The existence of the castle was known early in the 13th century, but the present construction is largely the work of Jean de Nielles, who married Marie d’Olhain at the end of the 15th century.
The marriage of Alix Nielles to Jean de Berghes, Grand Veneur de France (master of hounds) to the King, meant the castle passed to this family, who kept it for more than 450 years. Once confiscated by Charles Quint, it suffered during the wars that ravaged the Artois. Besieged in 1641 by the French, it was partly demolished by the Spaniards in 1654, and finally blown-up and taken by the Dutch in 1710. Restored in 1830, it was abandoned after 1870, and sold by the last Prince of Berghes in 1900. There is also evidence that one of the castles occupants was related to Charles de Batz-Castelmore d'Artagnan, the person Alexandre Dumas based his Three Musketeers charictor d'Artagnan on.
During the World War I and World War II, the castle was requisitioned first by French troops, then Canadian and British soldiers. The current owner has restored the castle to its former glory.