The castle of Canton Island
24 January 2014
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The former residence of an important local family in an area rich in history. Built thanks to Captain Guglielmo II Spinola, it soon lost its defensive purpose to assume exclusively a political-administrative function. Restored and made accessible, it now hosts the Archaeological Museum of the Scrivia Valley
Isola del Cantone

Located on Canton Island, in an area already inhabited during Roman times due to its proximity to a number of important trade routes, this village developed in 1216 thanks to the creation of a monastic cell dedicated to St. Michael the Archangel. Before the advent of the Spinola family, the village was embattled in a series of continuous disputes between the municipalities of Genoa and Tortona. 
Later on, with the construction of the castle, probably between 1553 and 1562, the Spinola clan established here their centre of interests in the valley, conferring thus economic and strategic prestige to this village.

The castle was built following a wish of Captain Guglielmo II Spinola, who never used it as a defensive post, but converted it into his residence since its early days. It features an L-shaped building forming a quadrilateral as it is enclosed by two fortifications and a circular tower, which was probably part of a primitive layout. The building boasts an impressive construction design, thanks to the use of large blocks of stone in the lower part and smaller stones alternating with rows of bricks at the top. It lost its defensive purpose as early as 1500, and it soon became a political-administrative building. It was named Mignacco after the family who purchased it in 1865.

It can be easily reached from the station of Canton Island. The restoration under the project for the development of natural and cultural resources of Liguria (Axis 4 of the EU Programme Por Fesr 2007-2013) contributed to the renovation of its interiors, so now it can be visited in its renewed function as Archaeological Museum of the Scrivia Valley.
The restoration provided for the installation of a lift and increased accessibility as well as installation of equipment for the arrangement of exhibition spaces and maintenance of external areas.