Linari Castle

Photos by Katia Di Leo

The neo-gothic rebuilt core of the castle.
The central, unique, road.

Linari crown a hill of 255 meters in the heart of the Valdelsa, from Florence is reachable following a minor road at the right of the SS2 a few kilometers before Poggibonsi.


Small fortified village of ancient origin in dominant position between the Valdelsa hills, Linari, like many other castles of this zone, is remembered since the 1072 in documents of the nearby Badia a Passignano. In the 12th century the hill of Linari, defended naturally by crags on three sides, is know as ' terra fortificata ' [fortified settlement] at control of the main road for S.Gimignano and Colle Val d' Elsa, a deviation of the Francigena Road. Its strategical position made of Linari a safe hideout for who had intention to complete raids against the communes of Poggibonsi and S.Casciano and this is the reason why Linari was longed-for between the greatest feudal and communal powers. The first owners of the castle were the Cadolingi family from Fucecchio but very soon Linari became independent, free city-state from 1279, since the 1292 part of the S.Donato in Poggio League, getting from this great benefits and a good prosperity. The commune of Linari was equipped of approximately 400 men at arms, a considerable number for the time, sign of its remarkable importance.

The Florentine Republic submitted Linari to its control and this marked the beginning of its decline. In the 1432 the castle was besieged, stormed and seriously damaged by the troops of Filippo Visconti that killed all the prisoners and carried the most beautiful women in the brothels of Siena. Niccolò da Tolentino, Florentine captain, reconquer Linari making of it the center of its fief. In the 1500 the strategic importance of Linari came less. The Capponi, the Mancini Ridolfini and the Baldi families are numbered between the successive owners.

In the 19th century the castle has been restored and strongly remodeled with neogothic additions, according to the taste of the time that has unfortunately not saved the original medieval structures constituted by the 'casa del signore'[residence of the lord]with a tower and other rural buildings distributed along the paved central way that joined the two gates: the northern Porta a Salti [ the one that we see today is a reconstruction of the first years of last century ] to the southern Porta al Perone. It walls, of elliptic shape, are practically totally lost in ruin, exception for two towers and the base of a third. All the village is today in a serious state of abandonment and deterioration.

Linari has two important churches, the main one , inside of the fortified enclosure, is S.Maria, today partially collapsed. Outside the town-walls rise S.Stefano, with annexed the oratory of S. Carlo Borromeo. The spedale of S.Niccolo', existing since 1308 and base for the pilgrims directed to Rome, is totally lost.


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