Inside 170-year-old ‘zebra castle’ which once belonged to the son of a Pope – World News


Rocchetta Mattei was initially used by Cesare Borgia, the illegitimate son of Pope Alexander VI, as a home and place to work. It was later abandoned and has only been restored recently

The stunning Rocchetta Mattei castle
The stunning Rocchetta Mattei castle

An urban photographer has shared incredible photos of a 170-year-old “zebra castle” with a unique history and design – including striped walls and patterned ceilings.

Explorer Roman Robroek visited Rocchetta Mattei, a majestic building in the green of the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines, near Bologna, northern Italy.

The castle was abandoned for decades before finally being restored and reopening in 2015.

It was built in 1850 and was initially used by Cesare Borgia, the illegitimate son of Pope Alexander VI, as a home and a place to work.

Cesare – a local count, politician and medical scholar – was the founder of “electro homeopathy”, a system of medicines using natural herbs and a secret method of preparation to treat a variety of illnesses and ailments.








The castle is located just outside Bologna, Italy
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Image:

Jam Press/Roman Robroek)










A staircase in the castle
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Image:

Jam Press/Roman Robroek)



He had close friendships with people including Alexander II of Russia, the Prince of Piedmont and Fyodor Dostoevsky, the author of The Brothers Karamàzov.

Pictures taken by Roman show the castle’s unique features including striped walls, intricately patterned ceilings, and a courtyard with Moorish influences.

Over the years, the building was passed through Cesare’s family but was damaged by German troops during WWII.








The castle reopened as a museum in 2015
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Image:

Jam Press/Roman Robroek)



Cesare’s heir later reportedly tried to offer it to the municipality of Bologna for free but the city refused the donation.

The building was purchased by an investor in the 1950s and parts of it were turned into a hotel and restaurant, but sadly it was not enough to restore the whole structure, so the castle continued to deteriorate.

The building was finally saved and restored in the late 2000s and reopened as a museum in 2015.








The explorer was attracted by the huge variety of styles spread through the castle
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Image:

Jam Press/Roman Robroek)



One of the things that attracted Roman to the building is the huge variety of styles spread throughout.

The explorer said: “To this day, what makes this castle unlike any other ‘proper historical’ castle throughout Italy is probably the fact that it was built to suit the eclectic taste of Cesare Mattei himself.

“This means that the exterior and interior areas aren’t coherent as you would come to expect from an ancient castle, which might have been affected by the passing of time throughout different eras.








The castle has a unique history and design
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Image:

Jam Press/Roman Robroek)



“By contrast, this castle is a melange of styles, aesthetics, and influences which reflected the culture of the European elites at the end of the 19th century.

“Rocchetta Mattei is undoubtedly one of the most unique castles in Italy and a fascinating piece of local history concerning the Bologna area especially.

“The castle’s architecture is probably unlike what most people might imagine when thinking of a southern European castle.”


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