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The Restoration and Preservation of Tuscany’s Castello di Castelfalfi

The current stage of the restoration and preservation of the Castello di Castelfalfi forms part of a long series of operations to which the village of the same name has been subjected over the centuries, without ever undermining the fascination of this estate sitting between the provinces of Pisa and Florence.

 

Built around 700 A.D. by Faolfi from Lombardy, hence the origins of its name, the village changed hands several times over the years until finally becoming the property of Giovanni di Francesco Gaetani, husband of Costanza de’ Medici, who restructured it in 1475 and transformed it from a defensive medieval fortress into a stately residence for entertaining and official functions. 

 

In 1530, Giovanni’s son, Pietro started new renovations. During these years, the fortress and the surrounding village were the site of numerous battles, undergoing damage and partial reconstruction. 

 

The Biondi family gradually took over the property from the Gaetani and became the sole owners. The eighteenth century marked a period of great prosperity and the family decided to turn the Castle into a manor worthy of its new standing. The construction of the straight walls and erecting of the two angular towers date back to this era. However, dissatisfied with the results, the family abandoned the Castle which remained in disuse until the early twentieth century when new renovations were carried out to build the wine cellars.

 

In the summer of 1944, the retreating Germans blew up part of the building. The destroyed sections were immediately rebuilt with the original stones found on site, but only up to the level of the ramparts, while the upper volumes were replaced with the viewpoint terrace facing west. 

 

Even though the vicissitudes of history changed the village and its destination, the surrounding countryside maintained its natural features. 

The village of Castelfalfi, set on an estate of just on 1,100 hectares, spreads over a hilly area with woodlands forming part of the Torrente Carfalo Natural Reserve. 

 

The Castle overlooks a panorama with unmistakable Tuscan features that can be enjoyed in all its calming beauty from both the viewpoint terrace – soon to house the outdoor tables of the restaurant – and the rooftop terrace on the southern side.

The fact of changing the destination of the Castle did not entail any distortions to its shape, but rather, the correcting of the damage of the years. The original layout has been conserved as much as possible, with great care taken in the selection of materials and a keen eye to detail, in order to offer inhabitants of the village and future guests in the restaurant an experience with a modern flavor, and a warm, lingering aftertaste of history.

 

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