March 23, 2016 / Places
Oramala, Lombardia

Some of the most famous trovatori (troubadours) of the Provence came to visit here and sang their canzone, songs to honour their hosts, the viscounts of Oramala, at their castle in the Oltrepò Pavese, Lombardy, 50 km south of Milan. Aimeric de Peguilhan sang about his signore Guglielmo in a splendid funeral complaint, Peire Raimon wrote a playful song about the name of Malaspina, Albertet de Sisteron, Aimeric de Belenoi and Guihem de la Tor sang traditional songs about the ladies of the court.

41-rm08oHrL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_It was the time of glory of the castle (built in 1029), at the end of the 12th and beginning of the 13th century. After a long period of decline the castle was renovated in the ’80s and is now open to the public again.

One of the legends surrounding the castle is that King Edward II of England is thought to have lived in a hermitage after escaping murder in 1326. Iwan Fowler wrote a novel about this episode, Auramala, The king lives.


Scorcio del Castello di Oramala-Val di Nizza (PV) dei Malaspina Alessandro Vecchi Date=11-2008

(Final image courtesy of Alessandro Vecchi… many thanks!)

Stef Smulders

by Stef Smulders

Stef is a Dutch expat now living the dolce vita in the Oltrepò Pavese wine region, an undiscovered Tuscany 50 km south of Milan. 

With husband Nico & dog Joia he runs a B&B Villa I Due Padroni (www.duepadroni.it).

Stef has just completed his first book about his experiences in Italy during the first few years (in Dutch).
An English translation will appear later in 2016. Interested? Send me a mail and have a look at my Facebook page.

8 Responses to “Oramala”

  1. Gian Banchero

    Grazie Stef, you brought up part of the Italian past I wasn’t familiar with, I am now to look into it. Very interesting.

  2. Molto interessante Stef! I’ve never heard of this story, thanks for the enlightening note

  3. Ann Thompson

    How does one purchase the book? Amazon says “currently unavailable.”

  4. Victoria De Maio

    Stef…I concur with the others…still another fascinating piece of history in another part of Italy I wasn’t familiar with.
    Grazie for sharing.

  5. Thank you Stef for mentioning the Edward II story and my novel! The novel was commissioned and funded by the Cultural Association ‘The World of Tels’, based in Pavia. The World of Tels has also created a fascinating research project trying to discover more information about the fate of King Edward II, which you can visit at theauramalaproject.wordpress.com and for more information about Edward II himself you can visit the website edwardthesecond.blogspot.com by Kathryn Warner. The novel will soon be re-published by Piemme here in Italy, and should soon be available in English. I’ll keep you posted! Thank you, Ivan.

    • Cathy W

      So pleased to see that your book was featured!! I’ll be heading back to the area in July (9th time!) and hope to see you then ;o) P.S. I cannot type and in my other comment, put Ian instead…..

  6. Cathy W

    I have met Ian and he has been our guide a couple time for the trips he runs in Pavia. He is an amazing storyteller too, both evidenced by his book and his tours. If you haven’t had a chance to read the book, I highly recommend it and the other book he wrote!


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