Castello della Manta (or Manta Castle), in the province of Cuneo, has a beautiful room with frescoes inspired by the characters of a famous medieval epic poem: a representation of the so-celled “Fountain of youth”, which over the decades was a recurrent theme for many painters, including the Bavarian Lucas Cranach the Elder, who created what is likely the most famous version of the subject.
However, the “Fountain” in the Manta Castle predates the German artist’s painting by a century, and was probably the work of the same anonymous who also decorated the rest of the so-called Sala Baronale around 1420.
The 15th-century castle, based on an original 13th-century fortress, is home to many more wonderful works, such as a moving “Madonna of the Milk” from the 1400s, and the intriguing, mannerist grotesque decorations that accent another room.
In 1984, the Manta Castle was given to FAI (Fondo Ambiente Italiano) on loan, entrusting the fund to lead its renovation and bring it back to its original splendor. It was a new beginning worthy of the legend of the Fountain of Youth.