Meleto Castle, Gaiole in Chianti

TIME-TABLE: Monday-Saturday: 11:30, 15:00, 16:30; Sunday 11:30, 16:00, 17.00; Closed on Monday morning.
ADDRESS: Gaiole in Chianti
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DESCRIPTION: Built in the 11th century it belonged to the Count Ugo, Marchise of Tuscia, but later it passed to the monks of the nearby Coltibuono Abbey. The name of the first vassal of the castle was Guardellotto. The castle was stripped of his possessions for some contrasts with Emperor Federico Barbarossa that entrusted Meleto to the local family the Firidolfi.
Its strategic position made this castle one of the principal fortifications of the Terziere (one of the three parts in which the Florentine military organization was organized) of the 'Chianti League' headed by Gaiole. It has been for centuries a theatre for battles, but has never been destroyed. The 'military' destination can be seen today: the shape of an irregular quadrate, almost a trapeze, with a keep in the centre, although notably lowered, show us a classical example of castle-enclosure.
In 1478 the castle was occupied by the Aragonese army allied with Siena, two years later it was quickly regained by the Florentines that started great works of reinforcement of its structure.
The 1480 addition is today entirely intact and consists in the cylindrical bastionated towers, gifted of machicolulis (opening between corbels of a parapet through which the defenders can drop rocks or fire projectiles against an enemy directly below them) posted at the two southern angles (the more exposed); of two hoarding in bricks at the northern angles overlooking the border of the crag, thus naturally defended; the reinforcement of the walls curtains toward the only road of access and the insertion of loopholes and gun holes, partly disappeared, along the perimeter of the enclosure. Thanks to this structure, in the 1529 Meleto victoriously withstood the siege of the imperial troops.
The Meleto castle was transformed in a villa during the 18th century and its defences were partly dismantled. The interior (you can visit it with a guided tour) has the aspect it used to had, with decorated halls and a particular little theatre of the year 1742 still provided with its seven original scenographies. Meleto remained an ownership of the Ricasoli family until about thirty years ago, today it is the seat of an wine production farm.

It can be visit the castle and the theatre.