Concert at the Castle

Concert at the Castle

Thursday, September 26th, 2013

What?! There are private castles? I guess we Americans can hardly conceive of such a thing since in our definition of the word there are no castles in the U.S. Sure there are grand estates built by people with way too much money, but a castle with a moat? No way. But in Europe there are still a whole bunch of castles remaining. Of course they’re not all huge and imposing or as picturesque as the “Disneyland castle” – the one in Bavaria which is the model for the one in Disneyland (there’s one at the Hong Kong Disneyland too). This one was built in the 15th century (Wikipedia says 1411) and is about 15 miles from Bologna and much more modest. But it DOES have a moat!

In any case it was quite a treat to go to a benefit concert in the castle here in Emilia-Romagna. How did I manage to go to this concert and even be introduced to the very wealthy owner? It was Paolo again. I did separately receive an invitation from Lisa, an American who has lived here for more than 20 years, but Paolo was instrumental since he has a car and it would be nearly impossible to go there by public transportation. As I mentioned this was a benefit for the reconstruction of an “oratorio” that was severely damaged last year in an earthquake. The best description of an oratorio that I could find is kind of a catholic version of a sunday school.

In any case there were two singers. The first sang only 5 songs which was a bit of a relief since she wasn’t particularly good and neither were her accompanists. The second, Lisa, was really terrific and her guitarist was also excellent.

We, Paolo and I, arrived after dinner. We ate dinner while mosquitoes attempted to eat us. The concert started at 9:00 PM so it was quite dark. Even so, I managed to get some photos and have augmented those by some gleaned from the web. Paolo said that he had met Michelangelo, the owner, because Michelangelo was looking for a private pilot to fly a photographer over and around the castle to take some photos. So one or more of these may well have been taken from Paolo’s airplane.


Almost all of the songs were in English for both women and I must say that I never would have imagined hearing “The Tennessee Waltz” in Italy. Quite a little piece of Americana.




6 Responses to “Concert at the Castle”

  1. Nancy Petralia Says:

    You don’t mention where the castle was. We went to two castle concerts while living in Parma. We heard Tosca sung in Sorogna’s little gem of a castle and went to Roccobianco for Culatello and Jazz where trumpeter Fabrizio Bozzo filled the night air with staccato flourishes. I write about both these events in a chapter called The Domino Effect in the book we wrote about our year in Italy. It was published in August. Hope you’ll give it a read. I’m sure you’ll find many more familiar stories.

  2. Joe Says:


    I really can only say that it was somewhat north-east of Bologna since I was a passenger and would have been hard pressed to find it myself in any case.


  3. Lia Olivieri Says:

    What is the name of the town where the “castello ” is located ? 15 miles from Bologna is not exactly clear.
    Thank you

  4. Joe Says:


    I really can’t help you there because I don’t know. I was riding with Paolo and he knew where it was.


  5. Stef Smulders Says:


    in our region Oltrepo Pavese south of Milan most castles are in fact private. Unfortunately because these often are not open for public.

  6. Joe Says:

    I’ve been to one private castle around here which was open for a concert. I think that it was a benefit of some sort. You need to be really rich to afford a castle!

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