Casentino is the area of Tuscany with the highest concentration of castles, doesn’t it sound great for a trip?
With the arrival of autumn, it is good to leave the beaches (like Forte dei Marmi) behind and explore the hinterland of Tuscany. With its world-famous picturesque countryside Tuscany hides many wonders. And the Casentino Castles are one!
The Casentino is a valley of the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines, in central Italy, at about 50 km from Florence. It takes its name from the town of Casentino.
Bounded by two rivers, the Arno and the Tiber, it has an area of about 1000 square kilometers. The landscape varies from hills to mountains, from meadows to forests.
It is really an interesting areas from the point of view of nature, history and culture.
There are many castles in the Casentino, most of which date back to the Middle Ages. At the top of our personal list we have the following 4 castle.
The first one is Poppi Castle, also known as the Guidi Counts’ Castle. It is located in the town of Poppi, near Arezzo.
Despite being uninhabited since 1279, the castle is still in excellent condition. Over the centuries it has been a home, a theater, a military headquarters, a library, and an event location. Its imposing structure comprises on several levels, with also underground rooms.
The Castle of Romena dates back to the 11th century. Even the poet Dante Alighieri mentioned it in the Divine Comedy.
Today, of the original castle we can see 3 towers (one with a drawbridge), the keep and part of the walls. After numerous restorations, the castle of Romena opened to the public in 2007. One of the best things of this castle is its avenue lined with cypresses.
The Porciano Castle dates back to the year 1000, although part of its structure, such as the large tower, are more recent. Between the 15th and 18th centuries, the castle was left to go into ruins and only in 1799 a family of Roman counts bought it, together with the castle of Romena. After that, the castle came back to life, especially thanks to the restorations of the last 60 years.
The castle includes a museum, fascinating rooms, and even collections of tools and instruments. Incredibly, it hosts a permanent exhibition of artifacts of Native Americans from North Dakota, part of the private collection of the current owner’s father.
From the castle you can enjoy a spectacular view over the Casentino. Sometimes, when the weather is good, you can even see the city of Arezzo.
The Valenzano Castle is a magnificent building that dates back to before the 10th century, that is to the period of Lombard domination.
Over the centuries the ownership of the castle has passed between different noble families, each of which has added elements to it.
Today, it houses an elegant restaurant which guests can enjoy the wonderful large wooded park and the gorgeous panorama.
These Casentino Castles are just our 4 favorites. Of course, there are others that are worth a visit. Some example are the Castle San Niccolò, the Castello Fronzola, or the Castello di Borgo alla Collina, just to name a few.
But Tuscany has much more to offer, from the amazing Val d’Orcia to hot springs, not to mention wonderful town like Pistoia or Viareggio.