The military unimportant fortress was buit according to plans, and in a similarly predictable fashion fell into abandonment relatively soon, along with the few sad huts surrounding it. The castle however kept passing from a Visconti generation to the next, until in the early Twentieth century Giuseppe Visconti di Modrone, now the owner, decided to put the building to some use. Taking inspiration from the architectural fad of Renaissance Neo-Gothic style – which basically meant creating faux-Medieval buildings that looked like fairytale places instead of actual ancient buildings – he renovated the castle and ordered a whole village to be built next to it.
The castle was to become his actual private home, while the village was conceived a sort of Renaissance theme park for tourists to visit. The idea was well received by everyone, and the newly christened burg of Grazzano Visconti has been a classic destination for family outings ever since. The village is quite small but very well kept. It can only be accessed on foot, which greatly contributes to its out-of-time atmosphere. The buildings are largely restaurants, shops selling artisanal crafts (wrought iron in particular), art galleries and a small museum dedicated to historical farming. Walking the winding streets is however very pleasant thanks to the beautiful architecture and scenic views.
Also magical – even supernatural – is the ghost of castle, called Aloisa. According to legend she was a small and rotund woman whose spirit still walks the streets of Grazzano Visconti by night, attacking the few guests who rented a private home to stay during closing time. The only way to placate the ghost is supposed to be hanging some of your jewelry on her stone statue in the main square. And yes, the place is as fun as it is tacky. But Giuseppe Visconti had a saying about this, written (backwards) on the official burg standard: “brush it off and keep your head up”. So far it looks like it worked.