The use for financial gain that is most respectful of the historical and architectural characteristics of a castle is to manage a programme of visits to this castle, opening up its most attractive areas to individual visitors or groups.
This is an activity that the Consortium favours, because it allows the castle to be put to public use while at the same time representing the best way to conserve it, since there is no particular need for conversion of its rooms and structures and it in fact encourages the owner to find better ways to make use of existing furnishings or to enrich and improve these furnishings.
In order to successfully manage an activity of this type, the internal rooms of the castle and its grounds must be carefully maintained, creating an image of care and attention and at the same time offering the visitor an insight into the way of life in past times, in the form of furnishings compatible with the architectural structures, recalling the history of the castle and the families who owned it. It will be quite counter-productive for the visitor, who is expecting images of medieval, renaissance or baroque life – or at least the life of past times – to be confronted with empty or poorly furnished rooms, or rooms with modern furnishings bearing no relationship to the castle’s history.
Since it is not always possible to have available, in the castle, the principal iconographic documentary sources and the main elements relating to the castle’s history and the period and territory in which it was built, it is always a good idea to set up a small, permanent exhibition of the castle’s history somewhere in the outbuildings, using illustrative panels, reproductions of antique documents, pictorial representations, descriptions of the architectural configuration and development of the building structures, as well as an illustration of the castle’s role within the political and ecclesiastical powers that dominated in the territory to which it belonged. The use of multimedia tools is also recommended.
When organising these visit activities for inclusion in the programmes managed by the Consortium to encourage castle visits, the owner must follow the Consortium’s instructions and comply with relevant tax and safety legislation.
For the Consortium’s visit programmes and examples of activities, please see the publication Visite esclusive ai castelli privati (Exclusive visits to private castles) in the Consortium’s “Itinerari castellani” (Castle itinerary) Series.