One of the most picturesque regions in Italy, Tuscany boasts an incredible amount of ancient castles. Some of them are well restored, others are in crumbling ruins, they are all reminders of the Tuscany’s glorious past. Take a day trip from Florence to discover some of the most beautiful castles in the region.
Cafaggiolo Castle, Mugello
Cosimo de’ Medici hired the famous architect Michelozzo to transform the original 14th century castle into a splendid villa, one of the finest examples of Renaissance architecture. Here, in the Castello di Cafaggiolo, the Medici welcomed artists, royals, popes. Lorenzo de’ Medici spent his childhood here surrounded by the greatest intellectuals of that period. The castle is owned by a private consortium and is open to the public for guided tours. Visitors walk through the spectacular park with centuries-old trees, opulent grand halls, ancient Majolica ceramic kilns and learn about the castle’s rich history.
Castello di Vincigliata, Fiesole
Once the stronghold of a noble Florentine family, the 11th century castle was almost destroyed when, in 1840, a young English Lord, John Temple Leader fell in love with the romantic ruins. He bought the castle and brought it back to its former glory with the help of many famous artisans, sculptors, masons, and painters from Florence. Today it is venue for weddings and home to a young promising winery, Testamatta, which offers wine degustations to visitors.
|Castello di Vicchiomaggio|
Castello Vicchiomaggio, Greve in Chianti
Located in the heart of Chianti, the castle boasts a spectacular position on a hill overlooking the Val di Greve. Its oldest parts, some walls and towers date back to the 12th century when the castle played a strategic part in the bloody wars between Florence and Siena. Leonardo da Vinci stayed here while on his most famous masterpiece, the Mona Lisa. Today, like many other castles in Tuscany, Castello Vicchiomaggio houses a luxurious hotel, restaurant and vineyard. Guided tours of the historic cellars, beautiful Renaissance gardens and wine tastings are available for visitors.
Photos by: Massimiliano Galardi/Wikimedia Commons, Castello di Vicchiomaggio/Facebook.