Tornano, Morelline, Cacchiano, Monte Lodoli

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The Chianti Castles route

La Strada dei Castelli del Chianti

Red Itinerary - Tornano, Morelline, Cacchiano, Monte Lodoli

Tornano Castle

Once more taking the main castles route (ss. 408), continue along the beautiful valley heading to Siena, and upon reaching the Osteria della Passera, take a private road on the right, descend, cross the torrent, then rapidly climb to reach Tornano. This village is mentioned in the documents of Coltibuono from the second half of the 11 C onwards and in 1116 it was a possession of Tebaldo di Rodolfo, possibly a branch of the Firidolfi family. The Mazzalombardi line descended from this family and one member, Guarnellotto, saw his castle seized in 1167 by Frederick I, who gave it to a member of the Ranieri Ricasoli-Firidolfi family. Guarnellotto asked for support from the Sienese, who claimed Tornano, and with their help he managed to keep it under his own control. Even when the Sienese were defeated and obliged to sign the Poggibonsi accord in 1203, assigning the castle to Florence, they did not cease their attacks aimed at retaking it, but each time they had to return it to the Florentines. Because of its strategic importance, it was implicated in the subsequent wars, both with the Aragonese and those that took place during the siege of Florence in 1529-30. It's a huge, impressive stone building, with a slightly trapezoidal ground plan, scarp wall at the base and several original arched apertures. At the top of one side, you can see the remains of probable machicolations. On the south side, you can see a fragment of the walls that enclosed the village. These walls rose from the location currently occupied by the houses grouped at the base of the castle.

Continuing on the main Chianti castles route, after about 4 km you turn off to the left, taking an ascending road. While passing through the small village of Monte San Marcellino, you will see on the right the high mediaeval tower of Morelline constructed in beautiful stonework. This is the church of San Marcellino in Avane, one of the oldest parish churches of the Chianti area, although it was rebuilt several time over the centuries.

After a bit more than 1 km on the ascending road, you reach Cacchiano along an avenue of cypresses. This castle that was owned by a line of the ubiquitous Ricasoli family at least from the beginning of the 13 C, and was incorporated into Florentine territory in 1203. This castle was marked by the same events as the castle of Brolio during the Aragonese wars and was reduced in August 1478 after a violent bombardment. It was rebuilt by the Ricasoli family, but it became the shelter of Sienese refugees and the two republics contended for control of it until the Sienese laid it waste in 1530. Currently, the complex which is in wonderful panoramic position, is made up of two structures of different periods. The oldest part seems to be the southern front, which, although extremely altered includes a scarp spur in rustic brickwork. Two very pointed ramparts, maybe from the 16 C, with several embrasures, stretch out on the eastern and northern sides. On the latter, remains of a machicolation can be seen. The northern wing, which shows some elements of mediaeval architecture on the side of the courtyard, has been transformed into a late Renaissance villa, with elegant windows on the northern side.


Continuing onwards, you pass on the right Monte Lodoli, a beautiful mediaeval stone building which used to be a farmhouse. You then approach the Madonna a Brolie crossroads. Just before coming up to the crossroads, you can ascend on the left to Tarci, a tall mediaeval stone building, clearly an outpost of Brolio, in which you can still see the original arched apertures or traces thereof, on each side. It is mentioned in the act of sale of a farm in 1310.

Brown Itinerary - Pieve di Spaltenna, Vertine, Uliveta, S. Donato in Perano, Vistarenni
Red Itinerary - Tornano, Morelline, Cacchiano, Monte Lodoli
 - Gaiole, Barbischio, Capannelle, Cancelli, Castello di Montegrossi, Badia a Coltibuono
Violet Itinerary - Vertine, Meleto, Rietine, Castagnoli, Starda, Monte Luco della Beraredenga, Montecastelli
Orange Itinerary - Campi, San Sano, Monteluco di Lecchi, San Polo in Rosso, Galenda, Le Selve
Blue Itinerary - San Giusto a Rentennano (alle Monache), Lucignano, La Torricella, Castello di Brolio

Anna Maria Baldini

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