Of very ancient Lombard descent, the Collalto family sink their roots deep into the March of Treviso, where around the year 1000, the family ruled that city as Counts of Treviso. Between the 12th and 13th centuries, they settled between the Pre-Alps and the Piave River and raised the castles of Collalto and San Salvatore.
The San Salvatore Castle, located in a strategic position that controlled critical fords and roads, quickly expanded. With its 30,000 square metres, comprising the fortress dedicated to the court, and the hamlet inhabited by farmers and craftsmen, it became one of the most extensively fortified complexes in Europe.
Over the centuries, the family was rich in professions: soldiers, skilled diplomats, capable feudal lords, generous patrons, important religious figures, among whom stands out the Blessed Giuliana, and last but not least, an alluring family attendant named Bianca, who became a legend.
The Collalto family thus exuded power and prestige. They also wielded jurisdictional power over their lands: under the 'Statuta Collalti,' the family ruled the county through its own laws and decrees, which punished, for example, the theft of the precious grapes of the famous Prosecco ancestor with a penalty of three liras, in the case of theft of a single vine, and no less than hand amputation for the theft of ten plants.
ETIQUETTE AND THE COLLALTO COURT
Throughout the Middle Ages, San Salvatore Castle resisted invasions while, during the long period of peace with the Venetians, it became the perfect stage for an extraordinary artistic flowering: musicians, painters, writers, and poets settled here. The value and fame of the castle grew, becoming the preferred background for the paintings of famed artist Cima da Conegliano. In the 16th century, Monsignor Giovanni Della Casa, a guest of the Collalto family, composed here his famous Galateo ‘The Rules of Polite Behaviour’.
And amidst the 'woods of trees and foliage' all around the San Salvatore Castle, Gaspara Stampa, the greatest woman poet of the century, sang of her troubled love for Collaltino di Collalto in her marvellous ‘Rhymes’.
Art, myth, war, and poetry combined explosively in 1599, in the 'fabulous and extraordinary' Tournament of the Barrier, organized by Count Antonio IV for his daughter Matilda’s sumptuous wedding. Within the walls of the castle, over 4,000 people attended the tournament between talented knights… and a theatre of arms became history.
THE GRANDEUR OF COUNT ODOARDO OF COLLALTO
In the 18th century, Count Odoardo, aspiring to the prestigious nomination as Doge of the Most Serene Republic of Venice, ordered an impressive palace built as demonstration of his magnificent power. At that time, the noble Collalto family was also based in Moravia, and in 1822 it was awarded the title of Prince of the Empire.
Emperors, princes and nobility of every title and rank, great leaders, talented artists, and illustrious prelates chose the Odoardo Palace and the Collalto court as the venue for meetings and decisions, scene for extraordinary parties, and nonpareil scenery for memorable events. In 1762, at the age of six, young Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart held his first concert in Vienna at the Collalto Palace.
THE WAR AND ITS DRAMATIC CONSEQUENCES
In the 20th century, the First World War devastated the area, and when the front moved from the Isonzo to the Piave River, Italian artillery used San Salvatore Castle as a target, severely damaging it.
But the Collalto family was not to be discouraged; rather, it initiated a passion-filled phase of restoration of their extraordinary historical and artistic heritage, defended with tenacity and love over the centuries. The construction continued up to the threshold of the new millennium and, in 2003, Prince Manfredo inaugurated the newly-restored castle, now returned to its former glory and once again the splendid setting for events worthy of memory that we enjoy today.
THE HERITAGE OF A LONG AND PRESTIGIOUS FAMILY HISTORY
Since 1110, the House of Collalto, generation after generation, have protected these hills, which throughout the centuries have become the noble cradle of Prosecco. The Collaltos wisely took advantage of these fertile hillslopes, exhibiting passionate dedication especially in the development of the vines and the wines they yield. The Collalto history is impressively long, and the Castle of San Salvatore is its most striking symbol: an imposing, solemn fortress that has kept diligent watch over the craftsmen and people and has defended the surrounding area even through the most historically challenging times.
The heir of this historic and unique tradition is Princess Isabella Collalto de Croÿ, firstborn of Prince Manfredo and Princess Trinidad Collalto Castillo. She has personally overseen the Conte Collalto winery since 2007 and the Castle of San Salvatore since 2018. With the refinement and style that marks a true princess and the unequalled dedication and love that made possible the preservation of the dynasty heritage and of its entire territory during its millennium-long history, Isabella Collalto opens the gates of this exclusive mansion to share the charm of its elegant spaces and ancient secrets.