Piazza Castello, 20, 53025 Piancastagnaio SI, Italia
Robust and imposing, the Rocca di Piancastagnaio stands at the highest point of the village and has been observing the valley below since time immemorial. The first evidence of its existence dates back to the 12th century: built for defensive purposes, the Rocca and the castle originally belonged to the Abbey of San Salvatore, and were then granted in a feud to the Aldobrandeschi family, who were already owners of numerous estates in the land around Monte Amiata.
Events at the Castle of Piancastagnaio and the Rocca Aldobrandesca were at the centre of the expansionist aims of various noble families, and the fortress never remained in the hands of a single owner for long. First disputed by the Orsini family and then passed to the Republic of Siena, the Rocca finally came under the rule of Florence. In the 17th century, the Medici family handed over the property to the Marquises Bourbon del Monte, who turned it into a prison. With the arrival of the Grand Duke of Lorraine in the following century, the castle gradually lost its importance.
Two restorations in the last century restored the Rocca to its original splendour.
Today, the building still looks as it did in the Middle Ages, and only the damaged battlements demonstrate the passage of time. The fortress has a square plan with scarp walls, where there are no openings or loopholes. It’s equipped with two towers: the larger one served as a keep, while the smaller one — rising above Piancastagnaio’s main gate — defended the entrance to the town.
The Rocca is visitable for free, and houses a museum as well as being used for temporary exhibitions. The bare rooms allow you to imagine the noble splendour in which they were enshrouded, while the climb up the tower offers an exceptional view of the valley and the Amiata territory, together with the feeling of being soldiers, fighting against the wind and waiting for the enemy.