Castello di Brazzà - Udine - Italy
The estate contains a beautiful park in the restored hamlet of Castello di Brazzà and is one of the most interesting sites in the region due to its extensive botanical heritage and natural habitat. The park and its spectacular trees are part of a much more extensive programme, the Habitat-Brazzà Project set up by Carlos Otero, Director of the Instituto Iberico para el Medio Ambeinte, to improve agriculture, the environment and the landscape, conducted by the owners Corrado Pirzio-Biroli and Cécile Cornet d’Elzius. Within the park there is also the recently restored Lombard Chapel of San Michele Arcangelo, built before 1,000 A.D. and with a floor that is some two hundred years older.
This historical estate dates back to the 11th-12th Century and has remained in the Savorgnan family throughout. It is situated in a beautiful park created more than 120 years old by Cora di Brazzà-Slocomb. It was the original setting for the story of Romeo and Juliet as well as being the starting point for the famous explorer and governor of French Equatorial Africa, Pietro di Brazzà Savorgnan.
The main villa has a chequered history. It became the headquarters for the Austrian army in WW1, who accidentally caused a fire in the villa in 1917. It was rebuilt in 1920 by the Palladian architect Provino Valle. In the Second World War the villa was occupied by German forces, followed by the allies (US Desert Force) at the end of the war, before finally becoming the residence of the commander of the Italian troops in the area.
The history of Castello di Brazzà and the Brazzà Savorgnan family has been described in various books, most recently in 2019, in ‘The Lost Boys’ by Catherine Bailey a well-known British author.