Last weekend I finally visited the Castello di Sammezzano, for those who don’t know it is a unique castle. This castle is just one out of three buildings in Italy that reflect Arab architecture. In just a few words we can describe it as a taste of the Orient in the heart of Tuscany.
Because of the decorations inside you will fall into a totally different dimension. The Castello di Sanmezzano is surprisingly in the center of Tuscany, just one hour from Florence.
How to reach the Castello di Sammezzano?
If you come from Florence or Rome you will have to take the A1 and exit at Incisa. From there, follow indications for Leccio. Once you reach this town, follow indications for The Mall (which, by the way, is a high-end fashion outlet) and park since the castle can be reached by foot on a pleasant walk within the woods, which include sequoia trees.
The history of the castle of Sammezzano
The history of this place starts probably in the Roman period, but it is thanks to Ferdinando Panciatichi Ximenes d’Aragon ( Florence, 1813 – Sanmezzano, 1897) who renovated and expanded the pre-existing building (1843-1889). Ferdinando was a bit egocentric as you will see in light of his initials all around the castle.
At the beginning of the eighteenth century, a cultural wave of “Orientalism” spread around Europe and Florence was one of the main centers, another example of this cultural wave is the Rocchetta Mattei (near Bologna).
Ferdinando, influenced by this cultural wave, modified the existing Castello di Sammezzano structure and realized new halls and new rooms giving it a totally different look. Although he did not have any degree, he had the abilities of a geologist, an architect and an engineer so he was able to plan and renovate the Castello di Sammezzano on his own.
He did not just design and realize the castle, but he also planned a vast area surrounding the castle characterized by a great forest of evergreen oaks and sequoias.
In the 70’s, the Castello di Sanmezzano was transformed into a hotel-restaurant. This business closed in in the 90’s and the property passed into the ownership of a group of English and Italian societies. This society is now slowly renovating the castle to bring it back to its original splendor so it can be used for touristic purposes.
The visit of the Castello di Sammezzano will bring you from Morocco to China to India because you will admire so many details that will remind you of the architecture of the Arab and Asian countries. In such a small place, you can enjoy so many different styles.
There are a vast number of colors to admire in the variety of rooms.
This was definitely my favorite detail of all, the room where Ferdinando used to have his suppers. It is called the peacock room, and in fact it reminds the visitor of a peacock.
The room next to it was really interesting as well. So many details to admire all at once, but there are a few really impressive ones.
Ferdinando had the habit to never throw away things he did not use, so in this room he decided to place on the wall the chinaware that some Spanish royalty gave to him. But if the guide had not told us, I would never have guessed that the colorful decoration on the wall was made of Spanish plates. 🙂
In the same room, Ferdinando worked out a strategy to enjoy the night sky during a 2 week period in July by building two different windows from which the night light entered the room.
In the castle you can picture Moroccan raids, the Spanish Alahambra and the brilliant Sagrada Familia.
You will be overwhelmed by the Castello di Sammezzano: a location inspired by the Orient right in the heart of Italy.
For more info:
Unfortunately it is not to easy the enter the castle. You need to register on the Facebook page or on the website.
Visit the official website or the Facebook page: “Sammezzano-comitato FPXA” where you will find available dates to plan you visit.