The importance of the walled town of Scarlino and its castle is clear
in the etymology of the name: although some considers it may be derived
from the ancient Roman port called 'Porto Scabris'
once on the underlying coast, it seems more probable a connection with
that means 'Sentinel'.
thanks to its extraordinary position, from which is possible to dominate
the whole lowland and great part of the coast from Piombino to Punta
Ala, the castle played an important role of 'guardian of the sea' with
the task communicate the coming of enemies and pirates to the nearby
|The town walls joined with the castle.
The birth of the town and the construction of the stronghold as crown
of the strategical rocky relief of Scarlino, instead of the more favorable
for the commerce and communications location next to the sea , was due
to the fact that, in the years immediately following at the collapse
of the Roman Empire and in concomitance with the barbarian invasions
of Italy, the underlying plain became an immense and unhealthy swamp,
because of the combined action of the sea tides and the alluvial deposits
of the river Pecora.
|The southeast 'spur' tower.
The first notices of a fortified settlement called Scarlino goes back
to the year 973, but it is impossible to establish what was its aspect
at the time. Later the castle's ownership passed to the counts Alberti
of Prato and Mangona. All the 12th century parts of the castle are owed
to the noble Aldobrandeschi family of Sovana,
acquired Scarlino thanks to the marriage of Ildebrandino Aldobrandeschi
with a daughter of the Count Alberto Alberti.
In 1164 Scarlino was conquered by the Army of Pisa. The Pisanes
strengthened the fortification of the town in order to make Scarlino
the stronghold at control of the surrounding area, important for their
commercial purposes. Due to this the castle is also called 'Rocca
'. Subsequently, around the 1240, Scarlino was one of
the first countries of the Maremma to organize itself as free common
[city-state]. Since 1399, and until 1814, the town was part of the municipality
|The gate on the outer defenses, once endowed with
The castle has an irregular shape with five sides and is connected to
the town walls. The city walls are chained at the northwest angle of
its main front, the less exposed of the fortification. The opposite side
connection, at the southwest angle, has disappeared. Near the castle,
in the highest point of their lenght, the walls are endowed with two
round towers. All around the village are still visible other large sections
of the town walls with the 'Porta Senese' on the northern side.
The External defenses, constituted by a crenelated walled enclosure [almost
a continuation of the town walls] are present only on the northern and
western sides of the castle, the most exposed toward the town, and are
protected by a ditch dug in the rock. The unique gate, once endowed with
a drawbridge, is opened in the western curtain. The inner courtyard separate
the outer defenses from the inner enclosure, core of the castle.
|The crenelated outer defences, overhanging the
Two sides of its highest walls are not reinforced with towers, but in
the angles there're remnants of brackets to testimony that the walls were
gifted of machicoulis (opening between corbels of a parapet through which
the defenders can drop rocks or fire projectiles against an enemy directly
The other three sides are turned to the sea and a tower rise on every
angle: the southwest squared and more tall (being the only one directly
turned to the sea and used as watch tower), the southeast one is disposed
as a 'spur' out of the walls to have the possibility of a draught fire
from its loopholes: these two were surely part of the most ancient nucleus
of the castle and preserve remnants of the stone brackets from which
leaned the timber hoarding; the northwest tower with its round shape
was one of the last Pisane addictions. The only gate of access is opened
on the most protected front, the north, with a beautiful gothic arch
in travertine. Recently restored the castle is used by the local authority
for manifestations, especially in summer. It Is freely visible from the