The first news of Desana Castle dates back to the tenth century, when Arduino, Marquis of the city of Ivrea was alive. Cusano said, in fact, that Aurelio, on a suggestion made by his consort Berta, gave the court of Desana, the Castle, the Church and the surrounding territory to his chancellor Cuniberto, who was head of the Cathedral Church of S. Eusebio in Vercelli. The Castle that we are talking about was probably built by the bishops of Vercelli to defend the nearby district.
When Arduino and Cuniberto died, Desana and the district returned under the control of Vercelli’s church by decree of Emperor Ottone III. When Vercelli and the District escaped the Bishop’s civil jurisdiction during year 1145, Desana and the Castle came under the municipal domain of Vercelli, and so followed its fortunes. In the past, the Church that served the religious functions of the few local inhabitants was in the Castle’s keep, and was consecrated to the Virgin Mary and depended on the Eusebian Chapter to which it paid a tithe. We don’t have any really precise information about the castle until year 1317, when Ugolino Gonzaga, captain at the service of the Marquis of Monferrato, in the war between the Marquis and the Viscount of Milan, occupied the Castle with his soldiers and devastated everything.
THE TIZZONI FAMILY
Because of this, the town remained uninhabited and the Castle destroyed. Desana remained in this condition until the arrival of the Tizzoni family. In the XV century, at the court of the Marquis of Monferrato, Sir Teodoro Paleologo, Lodovico Tizzoni reached a high level of favour and power and was invested as Senator, Councillor and High Chancellor of the marquisate. After considering Desana’s territory, situated in estates of the Marquis of Monferrato, that could become a safe stronghold, Lodovico Tizzoni asked the Marquis of Monferrato if he could take possession of the place if he restored the walls and repopulated the area. The Marquis of Monferrato renounced to all his rights to Desana’s village, and sent a letter to the Podestà of Vercelli to convince him to give the entire property and dominion over Desana to his Chancellor Lodovico Tizzoni. This came to pass on the 15th of September 1411. Lodovico Tizzoni fortified the Castle and surrounded it with new walls. He also restored all the ruined houses, and attracted new inhabitants from the nearby areas with special privileges.
In the year 1510, Lodovico Tizzoni, nephew of the original, was made Count of the Court of Desana, and General Vicar of the Holy Roman Empire for services rendered to Emperor Maximilian. This was a hereditary title and so extended to all his heirs. Under Count Lodovico Tizzoni Desana lived it’s best years, and in the castle the Count held court in the presence of nobles and literates, like Matteo Bandello, who mentions the castle in his novels. After the battle of Marignano of the 14th of September 1515, the French occupied all the castles and the places of the supporters of the German emperor, ransacking and plundering everything. The Castle of Desana suffered the same fate. The usurpers remained the rulers of Desana for many years. With the peace treaty of Chateaux Cambresis it was decided that all places and territories occupied after year 1551 had to be given back to their legitimate owners. Count Gian Maria Tizzoni was among them. Not having obtained that to which he had the right, he used force, and with a regiment of light cavalry attacked the castle, but without success.
The feud of Desana and the castle remained in the hands of the Counts Tizzoni until 1693, year in which Marquise Crescentino Irene Giovanna Carlotta, daughter of Marquis Vittorio Amedeo di Tournon, widow of Marquis Curzio Francesco Maria Tizzoni and tutor of his sons, sold the Feud and the Castle to Duke Vittorio Amedeo II di Savoia. The feud remained in the hands of the royal family of Savoia until 1793. But in 1734 King Carlo Emanuele III di Savoia gave Desana as a feud to Count Giovanni Pietro Marelli del Vert. When Count Marelli died, the King had his castle back, and gave it to his son Benedetto Maurizio Maria Duke of Chiablese as Marquisate on the 8th of February 1763. In 1793 Vittorio Amedeo III gave the Feud of Desana to Count Francesco Solaro. When the Solaro family disappeared, Count Cesare Della Chiesa, son in law of Count Solaro, sold the Castle and its chattels to Vitale Rosazza, from Biella, on the 8th of January 1833. Vitale rebuilt the ruined castle on a new design in the year 1840.