Spedaletto Castle

How to reach

The ancient castle of Spedaletto rises in the middle of the Val d'Orcia along the road that leads from Pienza to Bagno Vignoni/S.Quirico d'Orcia. It can be found around three kilometers before (or after dependig of your direction) the crossroad with the Cassia road (SS2).


In the Middle Ages the importance of the Val d'Orcia was tied mainly to the 'Francigena', principal European Road, that crossed the valley longitudinally for all its length. Besides the large diffusion of urban centers and castles there were numerous 'Spedali' (Hospitals) stands along the important thoroughfares or in its proximity's.


The castle of Spedaletto is a grandiose strengthened complex built in the 12th century by the religious Ugolino da Rocchione as place of reception for the wayfarers and pilgrims. Since 1236 the complex was managed by the Spedale of S.Maria della Scala in Siena and it was called 'Spedale of the bridge on the river Orcia'. In fact behind the castle the Francigena Road crossed the river Orcia thanks to an ancient bridge, whose ruins are today still visible in the middle of the water flow. This position made the 'castle' strategically important and, also due to wealth gained through varied donations, its presence began to bother the nearby vassals.


The Spedale also entertained important wayfarers such as Charles II d'Angio and Pope Pio II. The castle, as it must be considered for its appearance, has a square plan with towers at every angle, machicoulis with beautiful brackets in stone and battlements along the entire perimeter, a splendid strengthened gate with a mighty keep at its defense. Traces of the modifications of the end of the 15th century are evident: the light bastioned scarp added of a large part of the construction circuit and the gunfire loopholes opened in many points.

Entering the outer ward we find on the left of the gate the church of the Spedale with a splendid facade enriched by a rose window and a portal with Gothic arch, on the right the gate to the inner ward, adorned with coats of arms in stone. From here is possible to access the keep and the wall walk. The complex, privately owned, is in a good state of maintenance, also thanks to recent works of restoration, and now is seat of a farm holiday estate.