Castelletto di Villanova
From Florence follow the road SS65 toward S.Piero a Sieve - Passo della Futa (Mugello). The little castle will appears on your right a few hundred meters before the famous 'Villa le Maschere'.
The 'Castelletto di Villanova' is nowadays an unusual neo gothic building erected on the ruins of the ancient Villanova Castle. Of the original medieval structure remain a rectangular shaped tower [then transformed in bell tower], two gates (the main gate still gifted of a beautiful stone staircase) and little part of the walled curtain that encircled the ovoidal motte where the rest of the castle rose. Inside the walls was the San Jacopo Church  and other buildings, now disappeared.
Around the year 1250 the castle was fief of the Ubaldini family, called 'da Villanuova', then of the Bettini family. Villanova is represented in the ancient maps called 'Piante di Popoli' and 'Strade dei Capitani di Parte Guelfa' edited between the years 1582 and 1586. The castle and its church were bought in 1611 by the Marquise Ottavio Gerini and incorporated in the park of Villa Le Maschere, one of the biggest country-villas of the Mugello area. The actual castle, rebuilt in neo medieval style by Carlo Gerini, was first school for the children of the nearby farms and then nunnery.
During the second world war was completely abandoned. The restoration of the main gate with the tower and the stone staircase was carried on in 1990 to prevent the definitive lost of the building.