Torrechiara is a frazione of the comune of Langhirano, in the province of Parma, northern Italy. It is especially known for its massive castle, built by Pier Maria II Rossi (1413-1482), count of San Secondo, between 1448 and 1460.
The building was thought not only as a defensive structure, but also as mansion for the count's lover, Bianca Pellegrini, for which a famous hall, the Camera d'Oro ("Golden Chamber") was built with decorations by Benedetto Bembo, sibling of Bonifacio Bembo.
Scenes of the 1985 film Ladyhawke were shot at the castle.
The castle has four rectangular towers, connected by a double line of merloned walls. The inner court is called Cortile d'onore ("Courtyard of Honour"). The towers are the following:
- Torre di San Nicomede, with the eponymous chapel. It guarded the plain towards Langhirano
- Torre del Giglio ("Lily Tower"), so called for it sported Bianca Pellegrini's coat of arms.
- Torre della Camera d'Oro ("Tower of the Golden Chamber"), with the chamber of Rossi and Pellegrini.
- Torre del Leone ("Lion Tower"), facing north, which is the keep of the castle. It takes its name from Rossi's coat of arms.
The interior is characterized by numerous rooms decorated with fantastic, grottesco or naturalistic elements. On the first floor, together with the Salone dei Giocolieri ("Jugglers Hall"), is the Camera d'Oro ("Golden Chamber"), one of the most famous examples of erotic chambers in Italy. The fresco cycle in the lunettes portrays Bianca Pellegrini running her and Rossi's fiefs, searching for her lover: the paintings are attributed to Benedetto Bembo. The chamber opens onto a panoramic loggiato.
Festivals and events
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The Courtyard of Honour of the castle is the setting for the Torrechiara Festival, dedicated to the great soprano Renata Tebaldi.