How to reach
The castle of Montecchio Vesponi rises about 4 kilometers far from Castiglion Fiorentino in province of Arezzo along the road SS.71 that connects the chief town to Cortona. It's easily reachable from every direction, its towered walls dominate the whole surrounding zone and are well visible from every place.
The castle of Montecchio Vesponi rises to the southern entry of the Chio Valley, on a hill 364 meters high at dominion of the underlying suburb of Montecchio and of the same valley. Thanks to its good state of maintenance, the castle the more interesting medieval fortification of the province of Arezzo and one of the most beautiful of the whole Tuscany. The castle is has a massive walled enclosure developed for 263 meters still endowed with battlements and alternated from towers, a magnificent keep to the side of which rises a slender square tower of around thirty meters 'identification mark' of Montecchio visible from the whole surrounding zone.
The name 'Vesponi' seems due to the contraction of the name 'Guasconi', Aretine family that possessed the castle in the 11th century, period of the first fortified settlement on the site. It's dominant position on the road that connected, and connects still today, Arezzo with Cortona brought the castle to be often target of contend between Arezzo and Florence, that aimed to consolidate its influence on this area. Montecchio became a Florentine fortress after the Aretine defeat in the battle of Campaldino (1289) and the actual aspect was given to it by the works of strengthening of that time, the towers and the walls don't have traces of following reconstructions and they must be considered one of the purest survived examples of Tuscan fortified architecture of the 13th century. After Florence got the dominion on the Aretine country the castle decreased its importance but its name continued to be respected and feared and, on the to end of the century, became the seat, or better the eafle nest, of the famous captain of fortune John Hawkwood, better known with the Italian name of Giovanni Acuto.
More info & notes
Photos by Francesco Viti
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