The location of the Castle of Poppiano probably derives its name from that of a Roman family belonging to the gens Papia or Poppeia. During mediaeval times, the Counts Alberti di Certaldo became feudatories of Poppiano and around the year 1000 probably built the castle that stands there. Poppiano Castle was an imposing structure with three circuits of walls and was a fortress intended to play a role in the defense of Florence.
However, the main claim to fame of this castello is that it has belonged to the Guicciardini family for at least nine centuries, as first documented in 1199 when they inherited the Castello di Poppiano. The Guicciardini were one of the most important families of Florence and are mentioned again and again in the history of that city. The castle itself is famous for having been the headquarters of Sir John Hawkwood, probably the most famous of the condottieri employed by the Florentines (among many others), immediately after the battle of Fosso Armonico, near Cascina. The Castle was partially destroyed in 1529 during the siege of Florence, as mentioned by Francesco Guicciardini in his 'Memorie'.
Despite still showing its ancient magnificence, the castle, as we see it today,
reflects the renovations that followed the destruction caused by an earthquake in 1812
which destroyed the tower and much else. The reconstruction of the
castle was carried out on the basis of frescoes from other Guicciardini villas in
Val di Pesa and
which depicted its original structure.
Castello di Poppiano
Castello di Poppiano
Since the 1200s, the Guicciardinis held a key position in the political, social, and economic life of Florence and in 1416 Piero Guicciardini was nominated "Count Palatine" by Emperor Sigismund of Luxemburg. The family actively participated in Florence's public life and gave the city 44 "priors", 16 "gonfaloniers of justice" and 12 senators. The most important personality of the family was Francesco, called the Historian (1483-1540). After having held significant posts for the Medici family - ambassador in Spain, Governor of Modena and Reggio, participant in the League of Cognac - he retired to Poppiano, where he wrote a part of his most famous book, "Historia d'Italia".
During the first half of the 16 C, the Castle of Poppiano was the country residence of Vincenzo Borghini (1515 - 1580), a Florentine philologist and historian, who worked at the court of Cosimo I de' Medici and his son Francesco I, often in partnership with Giorgio Vasari. He enjoyed meeting here some of the most influential people of his time, especially his collaborator, Giorgio Vasari.
The castle can be visited for wine tastings and a tour of parts of the property. Reservations need to be made at least two days in advance.
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