Castles have always been places of residence, as well as headquarters for jurisdictional, administrative and military powers over more or less extensive territories. They have always housed the families that owned them, together with their men at arms, garrisons and domestic staff. The function associated with feeding small or large groups of people has always been present in castles.
This is why one of the activities that can be most naturally accommodated in a castle is restaurant management. Many castles in our region, and also throughout Europe, now contain restaurants, mostly high-class establishments, whose presence has the threefold function of constituting an attraction for people interested in visiting castles, of diversifying and enhancing the cultural and touristic offering of the monument itself and, finally, of providing the owner with income needed to maintain the architectural complex.
In order to increase the attraction and income factors, the furnishings, food, wine and service must be of the highest possible quality and the castle must not be considered by the same standards as any ordinary container; its walls and its functional and decorative elements must, as much as possible, represent a historical and cultural environment and experience that is unique and can therefore be particularly appreciated by a specific class of consumer.
If possible, it is preferable for the restaurant to be located in one of the castle’s outbuildings, both to reduce the amount of conversion work required to set up such an activity (kitchens, storage facilities), and also to make visiting the castle from a certain distance more enjoyable.
In order to open and manage this activity, business regulations issued by the Region and the instructions provided by the corresponding trade associations and by the Consortium must be followed.
For the Consortium’s promotional activities and a few examples of activities, please see the volume Ristoranti nei castelli (Restaurants in castles) published by the Consortium as part of its “Itinerari castellani” (Castle itineraries) Series.