The Rocca Sillana stands on a hill in the Pomarance municipality, more than 500 metres above sea level. It’s an old fortress situated in a strategic location that dominates all of the surrounding area.
Here, the views range across the entire Valdicecina, enabling any seafaring enemies to be glimpsed in advance. The typical military architecture offers proof of the building’s function as a defensive structure and not as a castle for lords, bearing weapons such as the crossbow and the most powerful of cannons. The remains of a second curtain wall in the woods below also bear witness to the stronghold’s use.
Legend has it that the building dates to Roman times, during the civil war between Mario and Silla, hence the name. In actual fact, the oldest part of the fortress, which is the central sighting tower, dates to the 12th century and the name comes from Sillano as a mark of the settlement’s Etruscan origins.
The rest of the fortress comes from plans by architect Giuliano da Sangallo, who furthered the project in the 1400s. Over time the fortress has changed its role, becoming a haven for bandits and enduring a decline before being donated to the Municipality and attracting a steady flow of tourism.