You will find the Castle of Montalto in a historically strategic position, on the border between Siena and Florence. Because of this location, it has seen many a battle, and has consequently suffered destruction and restoration many times. 1208 saw a particularly important battle take place, where the Florentines succeeded in overthrowing the castle.
The castle itself predates the year 1000, and written documentation of it began around the 11th Century. It overlooks the lush Ambra valley, in which you can find an ancient Roman road.
History seeps from the walls of the Castle of Montalto. Here you can see its 13th-century Langobard tower, or torraccia, its renaissance portico and its romantic-gothic crenellations from a 19th-century restoration project.
The Berardenga family were the castle’s owners until the 14th Century, when it was incorporated into Siena. However it returned to private ownership in the 16th Century. From then on the Palmieri family became custodians and owners of the castle. Recently, in the 1970s, a relative of the Palmieris, Giovanni Coda Nunziante, took over the castle’s ownership. Now his family continues the maintenance of the agricultural and castle estate.
You can visit the castle only via guided tour, and booking details can be found online. A particularly beautiful room is the Hall of Arms. Here you will see the stunning frescoes depicting life at the castle. You can also hire the castle for events and weddings.
On your visit watch out for the ghost of the Blue Dame. Legend has it that one of the Palmieris had an affairs with a beautiful woman. His wife, however, poisoned this mistress. Upon finding out, and unwilling to part from his lover, Palmieri cut off her head and had it mounted on a column in a private study. The tale goes that her ghost now roams the castle.
The castle is easily reachable via private bus or car. It is in the middle of the Tuscan countryside, about 6km from Castelnuovo Berardenga and 20km from siena. The drive is a truly breathtaking one, as it cuts through some of the most stunning Tuscan landscapes, surrounded by its rolling hills and lush greenery.