At south of Montalcino
the castle of Argiano dominates from the high of a hill the valleys of
the lower Val of Orcia and Val d'Ombrone, with the slopes of the Mount
Amiata set as picturesque scenery on the horizon. Not far away, rises
the powerful castle of Poggio alle Mura
Unfortunately the fortification, known also as 'Argianaccio', is in a
state of collapse, placed at the center of the exterminated vineyards
property of the Banfi S.p.A. that here produce its famous Brunello di
We have information about this castle from 1208 documents,
although on the hill of Argiano the first takeovers date back to the Roman
age. It was always an important military outpost to guard the southern
borders and in the course of centuries it had various owners and variously
used until in 1438 it came under the authority of the Siena Republic.
|The higher part of the keep.
The square shaped tower, or keep, is now partially damaged but still imposing,
endowed by some beautiful windows with arched vault and equipped with
a strong stone basement on the side toward the outer ward and the underlying
valley. A small inner courtyard separates it from the residential area,
used as palace [in recent times as rural house until]. On the eastern
curtain walls, that connect it to the keep, is opened the main gate, with
arched vault of worked stone.
On the opposite side a postern gave access
to the greater outer courtyard, that reached the margins of the hill.
Today only a little part of its surrounding walls survive, starting from
the north-west angle of the keep. Around the castle rises the recently
restored little church, in former times known as S.Pancrazio, that was
part of the castle buildings.
The abandonment of the castle started in
1583 when nearby was constructed, on a design of Giovanni de' Pecci, the
new renaissance Palace of Argiano. It belonged to several powerful families
like the Montanini, the Tolomei, the Sozzini, the Ugurgieri, the Chigi.