#153 Castello di Torrechiara
Langhirano, Parma, Emilia-Romagna, Italy
1448 - 1460
This is NOT an official Lego site

This massive fortress is one of the most important examples of 15th century Italian castles.  Built on a hill about 260 feet [80 meters] above the valley floor, it is built like many castles resting on a plain. The castle was built by Pier [Peter] Maria II della Rossi between 1448 and 1460.  While built as a military structure, it was at the same time intended as the comfortable home for the Pier Maria, Count of San Secondo, and his mistress, Bianca Pellegrini. This happy combination resulted in a castle which required minimal alterations through the generations, such renovations having greatly altered many military castles at the end of feudal fighting.
The fortress is protected by three rings of walls, with the inner castle consisting the four corner towers, three square and the fourth rectangular, all connected by salons and other rooms with gorgeous decorations, all topped with corbelled and machicolated battlements! Two of the towers are pictured below - the others are the Lily Tower (which contains Bianca's coat of arms) and the Lion Tower, which sports Rossi's shield.
The castle faired very well in the capable hands of Pier Maria (1413-1482), including being on the winning side in the War of Ferrera [Salt War], which pitted Ferrera and its allies against the Most Serene Republic of Venice. Upon his death, the castle passed to his legitimate firstborn son Guido [Giovanni] de' Rossi, who died in 1502 at age 71. Thereafter the castle passed from hand to hand, being besieged and captured several times by Lodovico il Moro, Pietro di Rohan, Pallavicino and several Sforzas.  It was purchased by the state in 1912, after the deplorable loss of all the original furnishing by the last owner. It is a national monument and open to the public.
My wife Judy looks up
the sloping passage
into the main castle.
Judy and I pose near
the top of the ramp.
The Tower of the Golden
Chamber and SE Terrace.
The courtyard looking toward
the Tower of Saint Nicodemus,
which houses the chapel.
The courtyard looking toward the
main salon.
The portico under the NW wing.
Judy chats with our dear friend
(and guide) Dan Vallauri.
Ground Plan of Torrechiara First floor plan Rossi coat 0f arms


Photos of the Lego Model
under construction July - August, 2016

Construction of the Castello
di Torrechiara begins on
July 7 as the structure is
laid out.
The remainder of the building
time is spent stacking the first
four layers of slopes for the
huge splayed plinth...
...and working on the
entrance level of the
On day 2 the plinth has almost
reached its full height, and
the gatehouse now has doors.
Building on July 10 features
drawbridges and the lower
two of the three terraces.
The infrastructure of the
inner castle is also mostly
in place.
Here's a closeup of the
carriage and pedestrian
drawbridge mechanisms...
...and a look inside the
gatehouse itself.
By July 12 the corbels
are in place...
...and the gatehouse is
The northeast terrace also has
embattled merlons and there
are windows in the salon.
Here's a closer look at the
infrastructure, which will
more than double in height
in the next few days!
On Thursday, July 14, the
castle is filling in:
This view details the south-
east terrace AND the new
courtyard, with its two wells.
Here's the view from what I believe
is the original (and only) entrance -
and it's zigzag approach.
We leave for a California
reunion later this morning,
but not before taking...
...pictures. Work during the last
two days has concentrated on...
...finishing the ramp from the
gatehouse to the SW terrace.
The only entrance to the inner
castle will be the gate next to
the Lion (north) Tower.
By July 28 the outer curtain
along the ramp and SW
terrace has battlements.
The porch has been added
next to the East Tower...
...as well as a similar porch
off the South Tower.
The first story of courtyard
arches and doors is almost
complete as well!
It took lots of advanced
planning to make certain
all the arches fit perfectly.
At the end of August 2 the
wall-walk from the North
Tower to the Gatehouse
is embattled.
But most of the work has
concentrated on the second
story of the courtyard.
The south-east balcony is
not only built, but it's roofed
as well...
...and the western court-
yard is also nearing
By August 6 the pair of porches are
And by August 10 tower have
begun to take shape...


Photos of the Lego Model
Built July 7 - August 17, 2016

This project is dedicated to my friend Dan Vallauri.  A native of northern Italy, he lives and works in Monaco,
building fantastic castles and other monuments in Lego, and creating LOTR , Egyptian and other minifigs and
 accessories to enhance our Lego endeavors.  He kindly drove my wife Judy and me on a wonderful two
day sojourn from Monaco to Parma in September 2013, where we visited castles, ate, and generally lived
like Italian princes [and princess, of course].  Dan's 40th birthday was 17 August 2016 - the day 'his' castle
was completed!  Coincidence?  Dan can be reached at dan@nicebricks.com and at the only shop on
Bricklink in Monaco.
Let's begin with an
overview of Torrechiara
from the east.
The middle curtain, too expansive
for me to recreate, protects
the castle from siege towers.
A tall splayed plinth upon which
the inner castle is built repels
all but the longest ladders...
...rendering the castle
virtually impregnable to
The inner castle had three
levels from which to fire
upon an advancing enemy.
I have eliminated what I
believe is a modern entrance
to the inner courtyard...
...as well as the modern staircase
which leads up to the original
arched gate.
The inner gatehouse
features both a carriage
and pedestrian drawbridge.
The large towers have
plenty of room for archers
to defend the fortress.
Should the gatehouse be
breached, attackers would
be assaulted from all sides!
The Lion Tower, named in
honor of the Rossi crest, is
the tallest of the four - and
possibly the first to be roofed.
The south side of the court-
yard is galleryed.
There are three wells in the
courtyard and within the
south residential range.
Wide staircases lead to
upper levels in both the
north and west ranges.
The expansive porches remind
all that this massive fortress
was also a comfortable home.
Grassy areas may have
seen flowers, herbs or
vegetables at one time.
The more southern porch is missing
two adjoining rooms, eliminated in
the model due to geometric concerns.
Soldiers train on the
south-west terrace...
...ready to deploy
wherever they might
be needed
Oops, we've caught a
fellow doing his business
atop a garderobe chute.
A perfect place to end!


Build Your Own
have scanned reassembled two elevations, which will show something
of the sketches I used in creating Torrechiara. However, I think printing
these on a standard sheet of paper would be useless.  So a full set of
plan and elevations will be available at cost through Decatur Blue Print.
Please contact me if you are very interested, but note that these are NOT
brick by brick instructions such as Lego Group sells with their sets!
Lego Plan
Southeast Elevation
Southwest Elevation

Other Castello di Torrechiara pages (the last two have nice pictures):

Return to the main castle page.

Castles created by Robert Carney
Page designed & maintained by
Robert Carney