grapes

The castle of Brolio dates back to the Longobard Era. Today nothing, except the location of the ancient original small fortress, remains. Brolio's role in the history began to be remarkable  from the beginning of the 12th century, when the powerful feudal family of the Ricasoli from Cacchiano took possession of it, and still, to this day, the castle belongs to their descendants. Its position was always strategic for the control of this area of Chianti, the edge of the Florentine influence at the borders with the Sienese territory. For this reason, since the 13th up to the mid 16th century, the castle was often involved in the frontier wars. We are in fact in the heart of the Florentine territory of the 'Chianti League' - formed by the 'terzieri' (terzieris) of Radda, Castellina and Gaiole. All the castles of the zone, were either Florentine or Sienese, and were always fortified, so much so, that two real contrasting defensive lines were created.

  

The castle was in the hands of Florence, except for a temporary Sienese occupation after the second Aragonese invasion  of Chianti in 1472. Consequently from this event,  to 1484 when the castle returned to Florentine control, a great work of restructuring and expansion of the fortification was undertaken. This was done to protect the castle from the new cannon fire weapons. We can consider Brolio one of the first 'Italian bastioned fortresses'. Its ramparts, in stone and still today in perfect condition, have an irregular pentagonal plan with a primitive structure compared with the development of this form of fortification in later years. It is not certain, but it seems that the architect responsible for the work was Giuliano da Sangallo, who lent his fortificatory art to the service of the Medici. These bastioned walls enclose the rest of the original medieval castle, the Keep and the Roman Chapel. Over the chapal a neo-gothic building was built in place of the preexisting one by the Baron Bettino Ricasoli, 1809-1880, famous  political man of last century, known also as the 'Iron Baron'. The castle rises to the center of boundless vineyards, from which, since 1141, the Ricasoli made their famous wine and placed it to age in the cellars inside the mighty walls of the fortress. The castle is private property  but it is visible, with the exception of the baronial home, by admission fee. Is still possible to complete a walk of the ramparts, from which you have splendid sights of the Chianti hills.



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