Châtel-Argent is an ancient castle, now ruined, that stands on high ground overlooking the Dora Baltea River in the commune of Villeneuve, Aosta Valley.
The castle, which had no residential purpose but was exploited by the feudal lord only in case of danger, consisted of a donjon surrounded by other architectural bodies and protected by a triple wall. The area now enclosed by what remains of the wall is 90 x 70 m; it is estimated that it could hold 2,000 men, a more than sufficient guardhouse to control the central valley from a strategic position. As for the 13th-century construction, the tower, the remains of a body of a structure, and a cistern are found within the wall at the highest location on the site. A chapel completed the site. On the eastern front of the fortified area is a small castle church dedicated to St. Columba in Romanesque style that is believed to have been built around 1050-70.
This location has been inhabited since prehistory and into the Roman era. Between 1050 and 1070, a chapel honoring Saint Columba of Sens was constructed. In a document from 1176, the castle is first identified as “Castrum Argenteum.” Under the direction of Count Peter II’s architect James St. George (French: Maître Jacques de Saint-Georges), the castle was improved around 1275, and it grew to the configuration we see today. The dukes and counts of Savoy had always owned this castle.
Featured image: wikimedia
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