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The Castello di Mirandola - or Castello dei Pico - traces its origins back to Lombard times. It was certainly already in existence in 1200 and was later further expanded by several members of the Pico family, becoming one of the most important castles in the Val Padana area. The vast majority of the castle was destroyed in 1714, when a tower full of gun powder blew up. Most of the remaining buildings were demolished at the end of the 18th century by order of the Dukes of Modena, who had become the owners of Mirandola.
A 19th century, neo-gothic reconstruction of a tower can be admired in its place today. Behind it - and in a state of some abandonment - lie parts of the Reggia with its 17th century portico as well as the sumptuous facade of the Galleria Nuova. None of its many paintings and frescos by Guercino, Peranda, Romano and Palma have remained in place today.
Some were destroyed; some taken to Mantua, and a few were transferred to the Civic Picture-gallery.
In 2006, restoration works to recover various parts of the Castello dei Pico came to an end. These have allowed visitors to gain a feel of the building's splendour and magnificence.
The "Galleria Nuova"
Of its surviving buildings, special mention must be made of the beautiful facade of the "Galleria Nuova". Constructed in 1668, it looks on to the viale di Circonvallazione today. This imposing loggia is closed off on two sides by jutting, worked ashlar decorations with wide, harmonious, three-sided windows adorning its centre.
The "Galleria Nuova" is part of the Castle complex and still evokes interest and admiration amongst because its elegance and complexity.
The remains of the Palazzo Ducale
Another part external to the castle which is of particular interest is the facade which faces the Teatro Nuovo. This is what remains of the "Palazzo Ducale" featuring an attractive portico resting on ten, pink marble columns. An arched doorway underneath the portico can be used to access an internal courtyard and reach the southern facade of the "Galleria Nuova".
Visitors can cross a second door under the portico of the Palazzo Ducale of Alessandro I to admire the ground floor and the dungeons - which date back to the Renaissance. The "Sala delle prigioni" with its thick walls can be accessed by climbing down a flight of stairs.
The Sala dei Carabini
The majestic "Sala dei Carabini" - with its magnificent, 17th century decorations - can be visited upstairs, inside the Palazzo Ducale of Alessandro I Pico. The room was stripped in the centuries that followed, although it still retains its luminous elegance today.
Source: local Staff of Modena