Pierle Castle

Left: The castle viewed from the SP35.
Right: The northern tower of the external walled enclosure, beyond the watch tower of the keep.


The castle rises at dominion of the homonymous valley, along the SP35 that from the city of Cortona leads in Umbria. Cortona is reachable following the SS71 Umbro-Casentinese or from the exit Bettolle-Val di Chiana of the motorway A1 Florence-Rome.


The main alley of the village.
Pierle can be rightly considered one of the most beautiful and powerful examples of feudal castle in Tuscany, its defiled location and the lack of restorations in the last five centuries relegated the castle in the dark of the abandonment and degradation, state in which it lies since the year 1587.

Pierle was a thorn in the flank for the expansionist politic of the city state of Cortona. The castle is still today located in the municipality of this town. The Podestà of this powerful city had to waste time and wars in order to submit the fiefs of the castle, the marquises of Pierle and the counts of Cegliolo, that had here their stronghold. Once subdued the castle was reinforced and magnified, its current shape goes back to the 13th century and it is a work of the architects Francesco and Raniero Campagna, to defend Cortona from the attacks coming from the territory of the neighbor city of Perugia. In its history no particular battles or important facts of arms took place in Pierle, except for the massacre of some conspirators in the year 1387 carried on by hands of Uguccio Campagna.

The village, the walls, the keep.
As above said the fortification lies in ruin, but still today it gives off all its great power and magnificence. The aspect is the classic one of the medieval castle-enclosure. The external circuit of walls, high between 5 and the 8 meters, has an irregular shape perfectly adapted to the rocks on which it is erected, and its endowed of three powerful square towers: in that one towards the inner valley, situated in correspondence of the main gate of the keep, is opened a postern, the only access in the walled enclosure.

Inside rises the residential keep-palace: this is the greatest still visible in Tuscany, even though only the external walls remains, and is placed in the northern part of the courtyard.

On its walls remains only some brackets in stone that supported the breteche of the main, and only, gate and some nude windows and loopholes. This heart of the castle has a rectangular shape and from the northeast angle comes out the tall watch tower. Around its walls developed a small village with a beautiful Roman church of the 11th century, reconstructed in the 1505, intitled to S.Biagio a Pierle, with a single nave.

The S.Biagio church. The castle in the middle of the valley.

The castle was destroyed in 1587 by the armies of the Granduchy of Tuscany Francesco dei Medici in order to avoid that the enemies of his Lordship could here find shelter. All the complex is strongly ruined and visible only from the outside.


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