In the Middle Ages, Chianti was covered with castles and other fortified settelments. Many remain as ruins, but many are now the headquarters of famous wineries, and Villa le Barone has develped a special offer to visit them.
In the Middle Ages most of the ‘Chianti’ area was covered with fortified villages, castles, fortresses, watch towers (Villa le Barone is built around one of them ). These castles were built on the counties of the many local noblemen, like the Counts Guidi, the Baroni Ricasoli and the Marchesi Mazzei.
Some are today in ruins but other are well preserved, still owned by the heirs of those families and have become the center of famous wineries.
One of the best example is the Castle of Broglio (or Brolio), which belongs to the Ricasoli family since the beginning of the 12th century. The castle was always in the hands of Florence, at the exception of a short Sienese occupation at the end of the 15th century. The construction of new fortifications, able to resist to fire weapons, was added over time and Broglio became a « bastionated fortress ». The battlements, with a pentagonal shape, are still the same as 600 years ago, but the enclosed original medieval castle has been replaced by Baron Bettino Ricasoli with a neogothic building in the 19th century. Today the inside of the castle cannot be visited, but it is possible to complete the walk of the ramparts from which one can enjoy the splendid sights on the Chianti region and on the Ricasoli vineyards. Wine was produced at Broglio since the 12h century and it is Bettino Ricasoli who is at the origin of the first rules to define a Chianti wine : 70% Sangiovese, 15% Canaiolo and 15% Malvasia bianca. The cellars inside the mighty walls of the fortress are used for the aging of wines.
But there are many other Castles in Chianti which are also centers of wineries : Castello di Verrazano, di Meleto, di Gabbiano, just to quote a few of them…
Villa le Barone has prepared for its guests an itinerary allowing the discovery of many wineries and castles « off the beaten track » and has carefully prepared a « special offer » giving the possibility to visit cellars, to enjoy wine tastings in various Chanti castles and to savour the authentic Tuscan cuisine at Villa le Barone!