What is a king without a castle? Over the centuries, the political fragmentation of Italy led cities, kings and lords to build many castles and fortified villas in those places that ora today regarded as some of the most beautiful of the whole peninsula. From Piedmont, through Tuscany, down to Umbria, let's discover three beautiful castles which would allow you to relive the Middle Ages but with all the modern comforts available. Maybe you'll find your dream property and become the "king" of your personal domain in Italy.
Ref. 1511 - Siena, Siena, Tuscany
Not far from Siena, on top of a hill overlooking the surrounding countryside, this imposing castle shows the signs of the many demolitions and reconstructions. Its destruction was first ordered by Barbarossa but the decree was ignored alltogether. Otto IV of Germany managed to have the castle partially demolished and the building was probably halved. The castle shows a semiciricular plan and the wall enclosing the garden is probably what remains of the demolished half of the castle, which probably had originally an elliptical plan.
Damaged through the many fights between Florence and Siena, the castle was first restored in the 17th century and became a beautiful countryside villa: the building is still today a private residence with 6 bedrooms and imposing halls which seem to bring us back to the Middle Ages. Almost 100 hectares of land surround the castle and grant unrivaled privacy.
Ref. 1508 - Baschi, Terni, Umbria
Built by the Normans over the remains of a destroyed Byzantine keep, the castle is nestled on top of a hills and dominates the surrounding countryside, with a view spanning towards the Oasi di Albiano. The building as we can admire it today follows Antonio da Sangallo's design of a quadrangular keep around a central courtyard. The only portion missing from the castle is the main tower emperor Charles V had demolished to make the fortress inoffensive while its army moved towards Florence in the 16th century.
The property, which also includes several other stone buildings inside the hamlet surrounded by ramparts, has been carefull restored to preserve its ancient look, among which a beautiful vaulted room made entirely out of stone which was back then used to appoint knights. The castle, with the other buildings included, is currently a private residence (occasionally used for meetings and conferences) but would be the perfect starting point for a beautiful boutique hotel.
Ref. 553 - Asti, Montferrat, Piedmont
Located at the top of a beautiful medieval town of Montferrat, this castle is the result of the union of several pre-esisting building into a single construction. The original building, dating back to the 12th century, is no more but its remains are still visible around the gardens and allow tracing the original shape of the castle, similar to a horseshoe. In its place there is today the main portion of the new castle which, over the centuries, ended up incorporating sevral other buildings until it reached the current imposing size.
Of the demolished portion one can still see the huge underground rooms, where prisons, water cisterns and storage rooms were probably located. A short distance from the castle itself there is a beautiful medieval chapel where one can admire an unfortunately damaged 14th-century fresco (covered in the 17th century and only brought back to light in the 1930s). The complex would be perfect for the creation of a boutique hotel and recent works allowed creating further rooms which will be added to the 23 bedrooms located in the main portion of the castle.
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