Istia d'Ombrone Castle
|The main gate.
||The 'Portaccia' along the external walls.
d' Ombrone can be reached following the SS223 until the exit of Roselle
and from here the indications for Scansano.
dominates the Ombrone river from the top of a modest hill at the margin
of the plain of Grosseto and, thanks to its ford, was an important node
of the Etruscan-Roman and medieval road network. Are still clearly visible
two nucleus, one at the summit of the hill and the other below. The most
ancient circuit of walls, that encloses the 'acropolis', has a rectangular
shape and was constructed using large sandstone blocks and elements of
varied origin (also a Roman memorial stone) joined together with mortar.
Inside once rises the keep, today no more recognizable. All the area is
private property and not visible. The external walls, that entirely encircle
the hill's base, were equipped of two gates and constructed in two fases,
the first in the low Middle Age and the second in the 13th century. The
only important remnants are the gates, both endowed with double Sienese
rounded arch: the first, called 'Portaccia', towards the river is now
in ruin, while the other, the recently restored main gate, is opened in
a beautiful tower still crowned with crenellation, machicolation and a
The first citation of of Istia dates back to year 862
(with the name ' Iscle') but it is not certain if the settlement was already
fortified. It was one of the most ancient possession of the Aldobrandeschi
family. The position favored the development of Istia as center of exchanges
and since 1032 the walled town became an important market. In 1137 Istia
was sacked during the campaign of Arrigo of Bayern, in the following years
was granted to the bishop of Grosseto that build here a palace (in ruin
until a few years ago, today restored and incorporate in private properties).
The property of the castle of Istia to the bishop of Roselle before and
of Grosseto then was confirmed in 1188 by a papal bull , but the patronage
on the zone remained deeply in the hands of the Aldobrandeschi. In 1228
the bishop placed the castle under the control of Siena, but in 1254 it
was reconquered, together with Roselle, by Umberto of the Aldobrandeschi.
Near Istia were constructed, in co-ownership between the Episcopal authority
of Grosseto and the Abbey of S.Galgano, some mills and a grancia. In 1273
the family of Santa Fiora succeeded to the Aldobrandeschi. In 1287 Istia
was subdued to Siena but the definitive cession took place only in 1467.
Later the castle was also property of the Piccolomini.