The first fortified buildings in Ottone date back to the Longobard period (7th century) and were conceived to defend Pavia duchy along the borders of Liguria during the Byzantine era. Later on, in the 12th century, the Malaspina became the lords of the high Trebbia and Aveto valley, and built numerous towers to control villages.
In 1164 they also built the Ottone castle, which in the 16th century was built by Gian Luigi Fieschi. Centuries later, in 1797, the castle became a prison after the elimination of Liguria fiefs by the hand of Napoleon.
This overwhelming fortress, which controls the ford on Trebbia river and the surrounding roads, dominates a large area of the valley overlooking Fosselino stream and Ventra torrent.
The castle was considered unassailable and its imposing squared shape, built in rough Romanesque style, is still impressive today. It is perfectly preserved, also thanks to the care of its current owners.
The castle is composed of two independent parts that were once surrounded by a fortified wall, which remains are still visible today. The largest is a massive medieval tower, probably the ancient keep that was restored in the 17th century adding buidings to its sides and uphill from the original core.
Restoration works allowed to double the space indoor, enlarging the prison, adding a new chapel and the entrance staircase to the first floor, and created new areas to be used by militaries or the castle owners. The second tower, almost intact from its original conditions, is called “il Paraso” (the palace) and represents the most ancient part of the fortress with a scarp wall and narrow slits.