How to reach
The castle of Gressa rise near Bibbiena, in the heart of the Casentino. Driving through the road that leads to the Franciscans Sanctuary of La Vernaafter about 4 km. we find on our left a deviation that conducts on a country road that ends just under the castle.
The castle of Gressa rises on a hill 585 meters high near the homonym stream, overlloking the valley of the river Archiano, not far from the city of Bibbiena. From this position is possible to dominate the whole underlying territory. From the 1078 Gressa is named on some documents as 'castrum', even if the first certain notices of the castle and its owners date 13th century.
From the chronicles of that time the castle is indicated as ownership of the bishops of Arezzo, that used it as fortified summer residence. Due to its geographical position, surrounded from other Bishop's castles as Bibbiena, Marciano, Gello and from the Monasteries of Camaldoli and Prataglia, we can deduce that also its establishment is ascribable to the same Aretine bishops.
From documents of the 14th century we learn that the castle was besieged and conquered by the Florentines in 1259. Afterwards the Aretine Bishops taken back the fortification and in 1356 there was another, failed, Florentine attack. It also seems that Gressa was the last of the castles of the Casentino to remain in possession of the Bishops. The castle, today with large parts in downfall and with urgent need of restoration, is constituted by a external curtain wall with irregular polygonal plant, of which only few lines remain, gifted of a beautiful gate in correspondence of the Bishop's Palace. The Palace is in agood state of conservation thanks to a recent restoration.
This curtain encircles the base of the hill. The second wall circuit is concentric to the first one and tightens the peak of the hillock. Also this enclosure has irregular form, assimilable to an octagonal polygon. In some points the walls reach five meters of high. The main gate of access to the core of the fortification was reachable through a timber staircase, today disappeared. To the inside rise, on the most elevated point, a tower with rectangular shape, developed on three floors, that had the functions of residence and military stronghold. The whole complex is built in sandstone and limestone of irregular form, to the exception of the angles, reinforced with big squared stone blocks. Between the two walls circuit are preserved two cisterns for the supply of water, whose inside masonry has covered from an impermeable plaster, a church and two civil buildings, whose structure has been altered by the recent restorations.