Santo Stefano d'Aveto Castle (Italy)
Liguria See list of castles in Italia
The history of the castle of Santo Stefano d'Aveto is partly covered by the mystery.
Unfortunately, there are no paperwork or stratigraphic investigations that certify the existence in the phase from 1200 to the second half of 1400.
Thanks to a paper of 1251 it is known that in Santo Stefano d'Aveto there were some mills belonging to the Malaspina dominus of the place.
Then only hypothesis about the existence of a "castro" or defensive structure, even in wood.
A document traced by SBARBARO in the State Archive in Parma cites "[...] 1425 Inditation 3.a on 23rd, mensis aprilis in S. Stephano Valis Forward to Domino Dominion Marchionem de Mulatio supra puntoem dicta domus to bancho iuris". It is presumed that at that time in Santo Stefano, as the Malaspina podestà administered justice over the pier of their home, probably fortified, there was no real castle, but a defensive structure or tower.
It is evident from another document of 1475 found in the State Archives of Parma by SBARBARO, already noticed by FIORI, where the division of property between the brothers Pietro and Francesco Malaspina is cited "[...] and first ... Torres de S.to Stefano Vallis Avanti cum hominibus de adherentia domum de Santo Stefano coherent cum canal cum suis pertinentiis ".
This document allows us to verify that in addition to the house quoted in 1425, in Santo Stefano di Val d'Aveto, the Malaspina possessed a tower of defense and control of the roads connecting the village with Lombardy, namely Piacenza and Pavese, and Also with the parmense, with the village of Rezzoaglio, with the Val Trebbia and Val di Sturla.
In the controversy of 1504 that opposes Gian Luigi Fieschi "the Great" to the aforementioned Francesco Malaspina, the castle is made up of "turrim a cum revelino".
So, according to CAVANA, Malaspina has fortified the castle, that is, the defense tower, before a defensive salient said to be revealed.
The ruins of the tower and of the Malaspinian revelation can still be seen today, folded on themselves, among the ruins of the castle of Santo Stefano d'Aveto.
The tower, according to a document by a Commissioner of Antonio Doria of 1548, cited by GAMBARO, is described as follows: "In the courtyard on the east side there is planted a tower of 48 palm trees in diameter and 100 high. The walls in the foot are large from 12 to 14 feet ".
Following the Congiura dei Fieschi of 1547 the castle will pass by hand, from Fieschi to Antonio Doria was G. B. cousin of Andrea Doria.
It is presumed that for prestigious issues Antonio Doria and later his son Gio Batta, the marquis of Santo Stefano d'Aveto's invasion by the emperor, have transformed it into the superb fortress whose shapes, revealed by the design of the Eng. Domenico Revello executed between 1591/92, although they have suffered the injuries of time and men are still alive today by going to the prestigious Val d'Aveto resort.
In fact, in a document dated October 7, 1562, tracked by SBARBARO in the State Archives of Parma, it is quoted as describing the boundaries "[...] ab. Strata publica ab. Rivers decurentis penes castrum dicti loci ".
It is evident from this that the castle of Santo Stefano d'Aveto was taking shape.
Those who erroneously keep talking about Malaspina Castle referring to the present fortress, allegedly built as said by the Doria, should stick to documents or to any stratigraphic investigations.
Under Malaspina's rule, it is presumably only the tower with revelation....