il Palagio Castle

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The castle rises in the country town of Mercatale Val di Pesa, in the heart of the Chianti area.


The very first mention of the 'Palagio' castle dates back to 1252, though its origin is surely much older. Events of different nature have distinguished the story of this important stronghold, whose proportions and impregnability have enabled it to hold out against the several raids during the centuries. In 1260 the Ghibellines plundered the area and destroyed Campoli, but Il Palagio was unconquered and its thick and semibastioned walls undestroyed, as in 1312 during the Emperor Henry VII prince of Orange's campaign.


The year 1320 was the one of the raids and destructions by Castruccio Castracani, while in 1381 John Hawkwood army was stopped in the neighborhoods by Buondelmonti's troops coming from outside Il Palagio. By that time the fortress, thanks to its unespugnable walled curtain, become a place of defense and a base for raids against the enemies of the surrounding area. From the 15th century the castle became ownership of the Florentine Republic who strenghthened the castle.


The building, which originally had only one floor with sloping roof, has undergone many changes. In ancient times, the tower, which has a square shape and function of keep, was lower than today and without crenellation (like many other castles of the Chianti area).


The present battlements were realised as ornament during the restoration of 1910. From the 15th century Il Palagio was endowed with many art's masterpieces. Portraits of Florentine nobles, pictures with hunting or battles scenes or Terracottas from the school of Della Robbia were brought to the Palagio to adorn the splendid, great halls. The gothic chapel is still fully decorated and in its centre there is a plaster cast picturing a Madonna with Child. The original work of art was here until the beginning of the 20th century, when it was given to the Bargello Museum in Florence. Actual owner of the castle is the family of the Marquis Goretti Miniati.

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Castello IL PALAGIO - Mercatale Val di Pesa (Florence) Chianti -
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