Left: The first walled enclosure and the pentagonal
Right: The entrance to the palace, from the inner ward.
Fortress of Cerbaia can be reach only by foot through a path in the
wood, the nr.48 of the CAI-Prato, from the
country of Carmignanello which can be reach from Prato following SS.325
Click here for more Photos [Before restoration]
» Where is Rocca Cerbaia located?
» View a plan of the Castle
» Take a look at some Old
Images of this castle or at its Medieval
|Windows of the Palace
The Rocca of Cerbaia, also named only Rocca Cerbaia,
dominates the peak of a rocky spur four hundred meters high overlooking
the valley of the river Bisenzio. Its origin seems to go back to the beginnings
of the 12th century, when the Count Alberti erected on the site a small
fortress at control of the ancient road of 'Lombardy', main connection
between Tuscany and the northern regions of Italy.
Despite its predominantly
military functions, the fortress was also for a long period used by the
Alberti family as their usual residence, and this is confirmed from the
touch of good manufacture still visible inside the keep.
|Ruins of S. Martino church.
deprived of foundation, says that in 1285 the Alberti refused the
request of political asylum of the great Poet Dante Alighieri, exiliated
from Florence. The same Poet made famous one of the descending daughters
of the family, Cunizza Alberti, protagonist of an animate sentimental
life in the 'Divine Comedy' (Heaven IX, 13-36).
|The gate of the second walled enclosure with remnants of the 'New
Palace' on the right.
In 1361 the fortress was sold to the Florentine that,
due to its important strategic position, garrisoned permanently the stronghold
and reinforced its defenses. Rocca Cerbaia has the classical aspect of
the italian medieval castle-fence: a mighty Keep dominates from the center two
circuits of walled enclosures approximately of square form. The construction,
performed in sandstone of which the zone is rich, lies our days in
serious conditions of degrade.
|Inside the 'Palazzo'.
Nevertheless vast portions of the first
wall circuit still remains, with the Main Gate inserted on the south
side; just crossed the gate we find on the left the rests of the Chapel
of the complex. Between the ruins of the second ward we can notice
the cistern, with a barrel coverage, and some other buildings. In the
core of the fortification rises the Keep with its central tower, once
highest than today, with functions of look-out and are still visibles
the breaches of the windows and a piscina on the eastern wall. This was
the residence of the castle constable. It seems that this part of the
complex has been reconstructed toward the half the 13th century, taking
as model the Castello dell'Imperatore (Emperor's
Castle) of the near city of Prato. Is not possible to affirm with certainty
that this corresponds to truth, due to the actual disastrous condition
of the Rocca. Some parts of the ruins, in particular those from the side
of the precipice, are yet to serious risk of definitive collapse.
In the year 1999 the castle has been bought by the commune
of Cantagallo, with the support of the province of Prato, and the the
works of restoration and valorization of Rocca Cerbaia started and now
(2009) are almost finished.