RELAIS DU CHATEAU

CASA ILLICA

DISCOVER  RELAIS DU CHATEAU FORMERLY KNOWN AS CASA ILLICA

like a  small luxury boutique hotel near a medieval castle

a best kept travel secret halfway between Parma and Piacenza in the lands of Giuseppe Verdi,

1 hour from Milan and 1 hour 30 from Bologna

… in the footsteps of the greatest successes  “Madame Butterfly”, “La Bohème”, “Tosca”…

From an altitude of 200 meters, the RELAIS DU CHATEAU • CASA ILLICA, located two steps away from the medieval castle of  Castell’Arquato, one of  “The most beautiful villages of Italy”, is overlooking the verdant rolling hills meld into rich flowing vineyards. A nineteenth-century villa in Liberty style where Luigi Illica, the librettist of Giacomo Puccini and Pietro Mascagni was born in 1857 and lived almost until his death.

This little gem, hidden in the historical center of Castell’Arquato is the only place where to spend one or more nights  in the tranquility of an exclusive residence with a top quality accomodation and a multilingual host to satisfy all your requests with great attention.

ROOMS & SUITES

For every kind of living…

The large villa of Relais du Chateau • Casa Illica having about 4.500 sq. ft entirely renovated and redecorated by the owners in 2008 has been tastefully converted into 2 Deluxe Rooms, 1 Junior Suite, 1 Superior single Room and 3 Suites, each of them totally different of the others in shape, colours and decor with large windows opening to picturesque views of the middle age roofs and the breathtakingly lush landscape beyond.

The names and the interior decoration of the Rooms & Suites are all inspired by the works of Giacomo Puccini and Pietro Mascagni for which Luigi Illica wrote the lyrics, to evoke the great operas through atmosphere and style.

ROOMS

Modern italian design, furnishings and nineteenth century objects make the atmosphere of the rooms cozy and unique. All the rooms are decorated with a common thread uniting them in an impalpable, superb Japanese obi – the belt of the kimono – with gold embroidery on silk. Walls are decorated with outstanding works of emerging artists, according to the concept of Boutique Art Hotel.

 


BUTTERFLY


MANON


TOSCA


IRIS

 

SUITES

On the upper floor of the villa, the BOHEME suite and the BUTTERFLY suite are both bright and spacious two-room suites with a stunning panorama view that lets you feel serene and relaxed in an elegant atmosphere created by a mix of antique and modern with a Japanese touch offered by the silk fabrics used for the raffinated decor. The beauty of the scenic landscapes makes you understand where the poet Luigi Illica got his inspiration for the world famous opera libretti La Bohème and Madama Butterfly which were written there, in his birth home.

 


SUITE BOHEME


SUITE BUTTERFLY


SUITE ISABEAU

 

 

EXPERIENCES

If  Relais du Chateau • Casa Illica is perfect for an overnight stop on the way to the south or to the north of Italy, and Castell’Arquato the best base to explore, there are many reasons to extend your stay. Let you tempted to experience the rich culinary tradition, the art and the culture of this area, some thrilling activities but also VIP shopping, relaxation and  well-being away from mass tourism !

 

 

CASTELL’ARQUATO

A VISIT TO CASTELL’ARQUATO

a tour directed by a recognised English speaking guide specialised in history, art and architecture, especially of the Middle Ages

The main attraction is its medieval monuments and small museums - a witness to its long history.
The monumental Piazza represents the three main pillars of power during the Middle Ages : the Collegiale Church represents spiritual power, the Visconti Fortress represents military power and the Palazzo del Podestà represents civil power. In the lower part of the village, the Farnese Tower and the Palace of  the Duke. 
Castell’Arquato also offers a very interesting museum collection: the Collegiale Museum, the Geological Museum, a medieval building located in the former Santo Spirito Hospital, the Castle Museum and the Luigi Illica Museum, adjacent to the villa Relais du Chateau • Casa Illica, its birthhouse.

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 DELICIOUS FOOD FOR FOR REAL GOURMANDS AND WONDERFUL WINE FOR REAL DRINKERS

WE CAN HELP YOU FIND THE BEST EXPERIENCE FOR YOU

Castell’Arquato is famous for its excellent so-called slow-food cuisine prepared with organic products in a very authentic way. Taste the local Emilia’s specialities among which there are the refined Tortelli, home-made egg pasta, stuffed with ricotta and spinach and many delicious dishes, and discover the many gourmet trattorias and restaurants of the little town. Ask us for the “where to eat” list !

CULINARY & WINE TOURS

In Giuseppe Verdi’s homeland :

AMAZING  CULINARY EXPERIENCE AND DISCOVERY OF THE FAMED “CULATELLO” AT ANTICA CORTE PALLAVICINA

(15,5 miles from Castell’Arquato and 2,8 miles from Verdi’s birthtown Busseto just outside from Zibello)

The Antica Corte Pallavicina, facing the Po River, dates back to the 14th century and has been sympathetically renovated to preserve its ancient early Renaissance architecture. Owner and world-famous chef Massimo Spigaroli is passionate about demonstrating that cooking is a real art, with dishes made from locally grown food products. The extraordinary aging cellars filled with “culatelli”, salami and Parmesan wheels are quite unlike anywhere else and a visit is more than worth it! These are the quintessential elements of the cuisine of Emilia-Romagna, as provided by the official supplier to the international elite. In the heavenly historic cellar where the culatello (not exported to the US)  from the white and the black pigs hang for up to 36 months, over 5000 culatelli over your heads  : some of them are marked for England’s Prince Charles, Monaco’s Prince Albert, Italian clothing designer Armani, French chef Alain Ducasse among other selected buyers !

We can make advance booking for several types of visits :

  • a visit to the kitchen gardens, the Corte, the frescoed rooms, the old cellars for aging the culatelli and Parmigiano cheeses.
  • with “Spigaroli’s carving board” (local charcuterie, Parmigiano cheese, salad from the garden, focaccia bread, homemade desserts and Fortana wine).
  • a longer visit starting in the morning with the production of Parmigiano cheese and going on to view the traditional “Black Parmesan” breed of pigs, their feeding, their pastures, the traditional local breeds of cows, the farmyard animals, the kitchen gardens, the orchard of traditional fruit varieties behind the castle, the processing of the culatello, and finally a visit to the Corte, the frescoed rooms and the castle’s ancient cellars.
  • for the elite, the refined and exclusive restaurant of Chef and owner Massimo Spigaroli that has received the 2011 Michelin guide star and that represents the best of the Parma lowlands .

In Luigi Illica’s homeland Castell’Arquato :

VISIT TO GRANA PADANO CHEESE FACTORY AND TO LOCAL WINERIES

Guided visit to a Grana Padano (Parmigiano-Reggiano ‘s chief rival) factory in the countryside 10 minutes away from Relais du Chateau • Casa Illica, followed by wine tastings in the winery in a medieval castle nearby or in other wineries in the bucolic landscape of Castell’Arquato among the vineyards planted on the steep hills of the territory of Piacenza, indoor or outdoor depending on the season.  

Stroll through them and discover the  fine sparkling DOC Colli Piacentini local wines (Gutturnio, Ortrugo, Monterosso, Malvasia and Giorgione, little known abroad …). Wonderful wine for real winedrinkers !The wine tastings are generally accompanied with typical cheese and the best charcuterie of the region and more ! They use local grapes varieties such as Malvasia, Barbera and Bonarda as well as international grapes mostly used for blends like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Pinot Noir.

After an amazing tour directed by an English speaking guide through the bronze chauldrons and the rooms where thousands of wheels produced in a sustainable way of the subtle Grana Padano are aging, you can also purchase and bring home some portions of vacuum-packed cheese with the Grana Padano logo on it and a special knife to crack it. 

Some wines  labelled “organic” or others local wines produced in small quantities are not sent overseas but you can buy some wine of the 16 DOC’s granted by the Italian Government and enjoy drinking it before or after dinner at  Relais du Chateau • Casa Illica !

 

HISTORICAL SURROUNDINGS

Numerous day trip destinations from Castell’Arquato

For a day trip, only a few miles away from Castell’Arquato, the nearest fortress of the 26 Castles of the Duke of Parma and Piacenza, is the Visconti mansion in the marvelous small fortified picturesque little town of Vigoleno, a perfect example of medieval architecture with tuscan influences in its style. On the way back or another day  you may like to stop at the Cisternian abbey and monastery of Chiaravalle  along the ancient via Emilia, probably built before the half of the 12th century. Other half-day trips nearby to Vigolo Marchese with a Romanesque complex of major importance, Veleja, the “Pompeii of the northern Italy”, which is famous for its Roman ruins.

Destinations like Parma, Cremona, Busseto, the home town of composer Giuseppe Verdi are definitely worth dedicating an entire day.

ART & CULTURE

Parma, Cremona, Fontanellato: an artistic heritage that testifies a centuries-old culture and history.

Parma, about 20 miles away from Castell’Arquato, has a rich art and cultural heritage. Besides its delightful streetscape and historical centre, Parma is quite appropriate for whose heart beats for opera and drama, and would like to visit  the Regio Theatre, opened in 1829 by Marie Louise of Austria.

The massive building of the Palazzo della Pilotta is home to the Palatina library, the archeological museum and the Galleria Nazionale, one of Italy’s most important and largest art galleries with paintings by some of Europe’s finest artists and a section on Parma and Emilian painters, including the Renaissance’s artists Correggio and Parmigianino.

A huge double staircase leads up to the amazing 3000 seat Teatro Farnese. Made entirely of wood it is the first permanent proscenium theatre and of the world’s most innovative theatre designs.

A spectacular Piazza Duomo : the Duomo of sober medieval design with ceilings and walls covered by frescoes and the magnificent octagonal medieval Baptistery, one of Parma’s most notable architectural gem.

Fontanellato located in the former Duchy of Parma and Piacenza, consecrated the genius of the young artist, the Parmigianino, commissioned to fresco a room which dark and hidden away which has since become a masterpiece in the history of Italian art.
Antonio Stradivari’s hometown Cremona is not only famous for its luthier’s know how recognized as World Heritage by UNESCO and for its brandnew Violin Museum but also as the birth place of Claudio Monteverdi and Amilcare Ponchielli, to whom is dedicated the elegant theatre with four orders of stages. In the heart of the town, the monumental complex of Piazza del Comune is the most important Italian samples of medieval town-planning.

THRILLING ACTIVITIES

THE ROMANCE AND THE THRILL OF A HOT AIR BALLOON RIDE

Can you imagine drifting slowly over the castles of the Duchy of Parma and Piacenza and the hills, and the scenic valleys of Giuseppe Verdi’s lands in a hot air balloon guided by the winds? It’s possible to take off from the Castle of San Pietro in Cerro where you will get a 20 minutes ride from Castell’Arquato and return by car to the starting point. Our staff will be able to check the schedule and the availability of the balloon rides for a unique experience !

MOTOR VALLEY

A thrilling day in Maranello, heart of the motor valley and home of the Ferrari factory, where professional instructors will take care of you. Have visons of cherry-red Ferraris been doing laps in your head? If so, drive 1 hour 30 minutes outside of Castell’Arquato in direction of  Modena and you’ll get your best chance to get behind the wheel. Next to the town of the Ferrari museum, several test-drive options with Ferraris or Lamborghinis, ranging from 10 to 120 minutes cruises around the area, as well as on race tracks, are waiting to transform your day in a thrilling experience.

We’ll help you booking test drives of sport cars, both on road and on race tracks, full of thrills and fun in whole safety.

SELF DRIVE CLASSIC CAR RENTAL FOR TOURISM

Rent a classic convertible car with delivery and collection of cars at Relais du Chateau • Casa Illica to enjoy an unforgettable sensory experience, combining driving one of a convertible with the discovery of the most beautiful and undiscovered places: the real Italy, together with the rich culinary tradition of this area.

RELAXATION

WELLNESS

The keywords for your stay can be also relaxation and wellness like during the Belle Epoque period. The Terme Berzieri is a twenty minute drive from Castell’Arquato. The sumptuous Art Nouveau building alone is worth the trip, and is the perfect destination for relaxation, in the health little town of Salsomaggiore. Crossroads of art, nature and architecture, Salsomaggiore enjoys a privileged position among the gently rolling Parma hills.

WALKING AND RIDING

The pure pleasure of walking and exploring magnificient landscapes: explore the surrounding country side wonderful for walking, have as many nature walks as you want alongside a river and through the valleys or climb up over a small mountain or enjoy relaxing horse riding amidst the vineyards. For those who love horse-riding, Castell’Arquato offer also riding lessons.

GOLF CLUB CASTELL’ARQUATO

From horse riding to golf, the area is rich in opportunities for those who want to practice a sport or simply spend some time on the green. The Golf Club of Castell’Arquato quotes in 64 acres of land, 220 meters above sea level and just 10minutes from town, has 18 championship holes、 set in a green and winding valley.

Set in a green and meandering valley, golfers can take a short break or spend a few hours relaxing in the bright, spacious club house.

Castell’Arquato offers also an outdoor clay tennis court. 

RELAIS DU CHATEAU • CASA ILLICA: THE GARDEN

Experience the pleasure of relaxing in the spacious garden, spending time on the terrace, having a drink before or after dinner, and enjoy our 24-hour hot tub.

 

SHOPPING

THE EXCELLENCE OF ITALIAN PRODUCTS

Italian fashion designers and luxury brands are available at the CHIC OUTLET FIDENZA VILLAGE, 20 minutes away from Castell’Arquato.
A VIP card with extra 10% discount is offered by Relais du Chateau • Casa Illica.
Another 20 minutes, and you’ll be shopping in Parma where you’ll find the world-renown fragrance created in 1916 in a small perfumer’s laboratory in Parma: ACQUA DI PARMA.
Another emblem of the Italian excellence, the symbol of the made in Italy hat, Borsalino, can be found at Cavalieri’s designer hat shop in the center of Parma.

 

Parma ham and other salumi, Grana Padano and Parmigiano cheese, traditional balsamic vinegar and DOC wine can be purchased at the producers or in the best stores of Castell’Arquato.
Don’t miss Labo: Architecture Design Art Temporary temporary showroom of design objects by Albino Vescovi, architect and designer, where you can indulge yourself in bringing home a collection of interesting and original souvenirs.

MUSICAL HERITAGE

Castell’Arquato, the town where the librettist Luigi Illica was born and lived most of his life, has an incredible musical heritage. At Casa Illica, the famous composers Giacomo Puccini, Pietro Mascagni, Amilcare Ponchielli and many others were at home. All the so-called Verdi lands gave birth to so many world famous musicians: Giuseppe Verdi, Niccolò Paganini, Arturo Toscanini, Antonio Stradivari, Claudio Monteverdi.
To celebrate this musical heritage, Castell’Arquato organize since 1961 the famous award Premio Illica which was given to the great singers as Mario Del Monaco, Renata Tebaldi, Mirella Freni, Placido Domingo, Luciano Pavarotti and many others.

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Every year, in October, the Verdi Festival celebrates the Maestro at the Regio Theatre of Parma and in Verdi’s lands. During the days of the Festival the best performers of the Verdi opera of our times will be featured among the singers, among the young performers, among the orchestra directors and with them other great artists, of different generations, all gathering in Parma at the renewed and prestigious Verdi Festival.

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Castell’Arquato is only 1 hour 30′ away from the arena di verona and allow guest to enjoy the Summer Opera Festival.

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From 25th july to 30th august 2014 the 60th edition of the Puccini Festival in Torre  del Lago is only 1 hour 30 minutes away from Castell’Arquato.

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ABOUT

RELAIS DU CHATEAU • CASA ILLICA 

OFFERS YOU SO MUCH MORE

Relais du Chateau • Casa Illica sits within the magical medieval world of Castell’Arquato, considered as the pearl of the Castles of the Duchy of Parma and Piacenza, overlooking the green hills and the valleys around Piacenza.

The historic villa Relais du Chateau • Casa Illica is bound by the Superintend of Cultural Heritage has retained the name of it’s original owner-poet, librettist and composer to Giacomo Puccini and Pietro Mascagni, Luigi Illica. He is the pride of Castell’Arquato.

The house in Liberty style was fully renovated in 2008 by the owners, and is nowdays like a small luxury boutique art hotel offering three Suites, one Junior suite, two Deluxe rooms and one Superior single room with breathtaking views of the hills of Piacenza.

Located in the historic center of Castell’Arquato, one of “The most beautiful villages of Italy”, Relais du Chateau • Casa Illica is halfway between Parma and Piacenza, in the homeland of Giuseppe Verdi.

Stay home away from home in a authentic historic house in an idyllic italian medieval little town not affected by mass tourism and experience at any time the culinary tradition and the cultural heritage of the area ! Our English-speaking staff always willing to help, will give you the best service to make your stay memorable.

NARAHARA CREST

Relais du Chateau • Casa Illica is owned by the Narahara family whose crest represents three fans. The origin of this noble family dates back to the end of the Edo period (1603-1868) when Samurai Narahara contributed to the modernization of Japan in the Meji period (1868-1912).

Narahara family crest

Narahara family crest

 

ART & DESIGN

Relais du Chateau • Casa Illica offers you much more

THE PHILOSOPHY OF A BOUTIQUE ART HOTEL, BETWEEN ART AND DESIGN

The Italian designer furniture and unique pieces of contemporary  are part of Relais du Chateau • Casa Illica. The rooms, bathrooms and kitchens are all decorated with hand picked furniture from acclaimed designers such as Philippe Starck, Naoto Fukusawa or Rodolfo Dordoni.

Based on the “Boutique Art Hotel” concept, first conceived in New York in 1984, which transformed the anonymous environment of a hotel room to one of warmth and personality, Relais du Chateau • Casa Illica is a perfect spot for the cultural and creative expressions of various contemporary artists.

Relais du Chateau • Casa Illica organizes regularly temporary exhibitions presenting the guests with creative excellence in Italy.

The permanent collection 2014:

 

LOCATION

A CHARMING HOTEL HIDDEN IN THE HEART OF THE MEDIEVAL VILLAGE OF CASTELL’ARQUATO

Castell’Arquato, one of the most beautiful villages of Italy, is strategically located in the heart of Emilia-Romagna, 1 hour from Milan and 1 hour 30 minutes from Bologna, between Parma and Piacenza. From Castell’Arquato your can reach in less than three hours the main Italian cities, including Verona (90 miles), Venice (160 miles) and Florence (150 miles).

REACH US

icona auto
By car: A1 highway exit Fiorenzuola D’Arda (9 miles)
Get directions to reach us on Google Maps. Click Here
icona treno
By train: Fiorenzuola D’Arda (6 miles), Fidenza (9 miles)
icona aereo
By plane: Milano Linate (60 miles), Milano Malpensa (90 miles),  Bologna (90 miles)
icona limo
Limousine service on request. Click here for more information
icona taxi
Taxi or car rental on request
freccia

GPS coordinates
44°51’07.0″N 9°52’02.4″E
44.851939, 9.867321

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