Poppi with its magnificent castle rises on a hill, on the right bank of the river Arno for who comes from Florence, in the center of the Casentino valley. The castle can be reached following the SS70 Umbro-Casentinese, leaving it to the height of Ponte a Poppi and driving up to the top of the hill where the castle rise.
Despite to the fact that the first written notices of the existence of the castle are dated 1191, its architecture lets us suppose that the foundation was antecedent of two or three centuries, back to the period between the invasions of Italy of the Longbeards and the French .
The original nucleus of the castle is constituted by the high square tower that still dominates the rest of the construction and the underlying valley. The today's aspect is not the original one, in fact in the last century the tower was partially reconstructed, principally during the restoration following the damages suffered when it was hit by a great lightning. The tower was higher and gifted of machicoulis (projection from the wall made of stone which has openings through which the defenders can fire upon an enemy directly below), the legend says it was taken for model by the Master Mason Arnolfo di Cambio for the construction of the one of 'Palazzo Vecchio' in Florence, that is still today intact. About three or four meters of the base are currently buried, this cover the scarped wall of the tower. The openings in the masonry seem to be original. After the tower was built a walled enclosure all around it, from which were then developed the other buildings of the fortification.
The complex was endowed with only two gates, the main, with a steep ramp of access, on the side towards the valley and the suburb of Ponte a Poppi (Poppi's ancient market place on the river Arno) and the other on the opposite side toward the square of the town. After the last big restructuring of the castle, in 1470, this last became the principal access with the name of 'Lion gate'.
Almost contemporarily was begun the construction of the other wing of the castle at the opposite side of the tower. This was built only up to the first floor when the keep was finished, but that was enough for the creation of the inside courtyard that we can still admire today, rich of coats of arms in stone of the Florentine families that developed the Vicariate at the castle. On the side toward Ponte a Poppi the courtyard is closed by the Chapel. Great part of these works are assigned to the count Simone Guidi, responsible of the great first reconstruction, initiated in 1274, that raised the original small fortress to the rank of feudal residence. To increase the elegance of the castle he opened also some mullioned windows on its fašade.
Another big intervention had been brought ahead since 1470. This interested principally the inside courtyard with the construction of the splendid staircase in stone for the access at the plans of the building. Was excavated the ditch of separation between the castle and the square of the town and on the outer walls was erected the 'Munizione Tower' at defense of the 'Lion gate'. The 'Munizione' was endowed with a drawbridge, today disappeared. The castle was by now a splendid residential building. The works of the last century, with the remaking of big part of the battlements and the restoration of the mullioned windows and other parts of the masonry, has given it the splendid today's aspect .