The castle of Cafaggiolo is located north of Florence, in the Mugello area. A Medici abode, it is considered a masterwork of architecture. The original structure was built in the 1300s as a fortalice of the Florence Republic. In 1443, Cosimo il Vecchio gave Michelozzo the job of transforming the ancient fort into a residential home. Today, the moat, the lift bridge and the external walls that surrounded the fortified villa have disappeared. The villa still has a defensive apparatus but it was likely constructed for to decorative reasons. The Medici passed long and short visits in the villa, where they welcomed many artists and illustrious and important figures. The large living and dining rooms and the vast parkland were the locations where the Medici entertained popes, aristocrats, friends and artists, and where they held balls, parties and meetings. Lorenzo de’ Medici spent part of his childhood at Cafaggiolo, and as an adult he vacationed there with his artist friends. In 1515, the castle welcomed Pope Leone X, who grew up in this country house with his brothers and mother, Clarice Orsini. Several Medici wives were invited to holiday in the villa in Mugello. It was here, in 1533, that Margherita d’Austria met Caterina dei Medici. After the end of the Medici dynasty, which occurred in 1737 with Giangstone, the Cafaggiolo Castle continued to be the preferred destination of famous figures. It first passed into the hands of the Asburgo Lorena, and then in 1864, the Italian state sold it to the Borghese Princes, who modified it significantly. Today, it is private property. It features a restaurant and dance hall. The castle’s website is: www.castellodicafaggiolo.it.