Castel San Niccolò dominates the modern village of Strada in Casentino, it is reachable from the SS70 Umbro-Casentinese.
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The ancient castle of S.Niccolò, already known as 'Court of Vado', rises on a high hill above the valley of the Solano stream, tributary of the Arno. The Castle is first mentioned in documents dating 1029. It was one of the strongest fortresses of the Guidi from Battifolle and its history is closely connected with the one of this powerful feudal family.
In 1440 the castle vainly attempted to withstand the siege of the troops commanded by Niccolò Piccinino, joined with the army of the Guidi of Poppi. The cruelty of this long siege remained in the history: anyone that tried to escape from Castel S.Niccolò was captured and launched with a trebuchet back into to castle creating a total pure mayhem. After taking the castle by storm, for revenge all the inhabitants were hung along the curtain walls. After these bloody actions the Florentine Republic dismantled all the castles of the Casentino.
The most important part of the fortification is the 'Palace' that was residence of the Guidi family first and later of the Florentine Podestà (medieval term for chief magistrate or governor) endowed with mullioned windows with two lights and a beautiful gothic portal, all surmounted by the high and mighty keep. The castle is for large part intact, even if in the western front the external walls are lost.
Entering the inner ward we can admire an elegant gallery, the cistern and the reconstructed wall walk on the east side, in some points still endowed with (reconstructed) battlements. Well preserved is also the southeast tower, open on the side facing the courtyard, a 'twin' of the disappeared others that were at the angles of the walled enclosure. In the wall that connects the tower to the keep is a postern. What we see today is due to the patient work of restoration undertaken by the owner, that cleaned the historical vestiges from all the modern additions erected in the modern times, bringing them to the ancient shine. The eastern side of the castle with the keep on the left and the intact curtains that encircle it up to the southeast tower is perhaps the most powerful image between those of all the castles of the Casentino area. The castle is a private residence visitable only by reservation.