Panzano Castle

The main gate.
The unique little road inside the castle.

Panzano is in the heart of the Chianti region, approximately half road between Greve and Castellina, to the crossing between the 'Strada delle Colline', that follows the hills to the right bank of the Elsa river, and the Chiantigiana Road.

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Settlement of Roman origin developed in barbaric age, mentioned in several documents since the 11th century, Panzano was lordship of the powerful Firidolfi family and for centuries main center of the Val di Greve League. Consequently it was also the most fortified one and this is confirmed by the remarkable rests of the castle that was constructed, probably after those of Montegrossi and Brolio by the Ricasoli-Firidolfi family, around the feudal keep. Some historical dates: from 1260 Panzano begin to be involved in the wars between Florence and Siena, in 1397 was attacked by the troops of the Visconti leaded by Alberico da Barbiano and in 1478 was besieged by the Senesi.

The walled curtain, of irregular semirectangular shape, is practically intact, even if in some parts the walls were partially pulled down, totally removed in correspondence of the parish church of S.Maria [ ancient dependency of the S.Leolino Abbey - today of the original 12th century structure nothing remain, it was replaced, at the end of the 1800 by a modest neoclassical church ]. Two angle towers are still present, one acts as bell tower of the church while on the other, at south east, are still visible traces of the brackets that supported the machicolulis. The high squared keep, still with its original height, rise up from the little place, core of the ancient inner nucleus of the castle. We can enter through the only survived original gate [the other is a recent gap opened in the walls] with its beautiful arched vault. From some elements seems that it was preceded by a small barbican or other defense, today lost. Ulterior buildings conserve medieval structures, above all the tower-house that rises in front of the keep, and others on the unique little street. Also the village outside the castle walls developed from the 12th century, along the access road on the ridge of the hill, and very soon it became an important market place.

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