Meleto Castle

Località Castello di Meleto, 53013 Gaiole In Chianti SI, Italia

Simona Bertolaso

Gaiole In Chianti


Palazzi, Ville e Castelli
Hosted in
Food, Tickets, Equipment


Meleto Castle stands along State Road 408, which connects Valdarno to Siena.
The earliest records of Meleto date back to the 11th century, a time when the castle belonged to the Benedictine monks of the Badia a Coltibuono.

The name "Meleto in Chianti" is first mentioned in 1256 in the Libro degli Estimi dei Guelfi fiorentini, as the property of a local feudal family. Due to its location near the border between the territories of the Republics of Florence and Siena, the castle first became the main Florentine bulwark in the area and later one of the main fortifications in the Terziere of Gaiole of the League of Chianti. This made the castle a coveted prey between the two contenders, although it never suffered serious destruction.
The essentially martial structure of the settlement still stands out today, despite the transformations it underwent in the 18th century: the irregular quadrilateral shape, almost a trapezoid, with the presence in the center of the keep tower, although considerably lowered, show us a classic example of a castle-recinto. In 1478 the castle was occupied by the Aragonese army allied with Siena, but two years later it was promptly recaptured by the Florentines, who carried out considerable work to strengthen the structures. Of the works of 1480, the following are still intact: the two mighty cylindrical bastioned towers equipped with protruding defensive apparatus at the two southern corners-the most exposed ones; brick galleries, with corbels and small arches for lead defense, at the two northern corners jutting out over the edge of the hill; the partial bastioning of the curtain walls toward the only access road; and the insertion of loopholes and thrones, which have partly disappeared, along the perimeter of the walls. With these defensive structures, Meleto was able to victoriously withstand the siege of the imperial troops in 1529. In 1700 the castle was converted into a villa and its defenses partly dismantled. Its interiors, which can be visited with a paid guide, date from this period with decorated and frescoed rooms. Worth seeing, a distinctive little theater from 1742 complete with its seven original sets. Meleto remained the property of the Ricasoli family until about 30 years ago; today it is home to a wine-producing farm.

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