The Castello di Meleto is located in the heart of the Chianti territory in the neighbourhoods of the small town of Gaiole in Chianti, in the north of the province of Sienna.
Erected on the edge of a hill, the marvellous castle comes out in the captivating countryside of Chianti, at the end of a wide track lined with ancient cypresses.
The origin of the Castle of Meleto comes back from the 11th century when it was a property of the nearby Abbey of Contibuono. Its first Lord was Guardellotto, but due to important politic divergences with the Emperor Federico Barbarossa he was deprived of the castle.
Federico Barbarossa granted it to the noble Firidolfi family.
The Castle of Meleto owing to its strategic position overlooking the chief road which connected the Arno Valley with the Chianti territory – furthermore to its adjacent location on the border line between the territorial jurisdictions of Florence and Sienna - was thought as one of the main fortresses in that Florentine “Terziere” (three subdivisions of a territorial area) leaded by Gaiole in Chianti.
In the second half of the 13th century, when the legendary Batlle of Montaperti was fought between Florence and Sienna, the castle was seriously damaged by the Ghibellines of Sienna who won the day.
In 1478 the castle was taken by the army of Fernando I of Aragon, King of Naples, allied with Pope Sisto IV, against Lorenzo de Medici. Two years later the Florentines recaptured it and made large strengthening works of the walls and of the internal structures.
In the middle of the 16th century the Castle of Meleto was siege for a short time by the Imperial army, but with the fall of the Republic of Sienna the Ricasoli family (a branch the Firodolfi family, its former owners) went to reside in it once again.
In spite of the remodelling works which were made in the 18th century when the castle was changed into a mansion it never loss its original external defensive idiosyncrasy. The outdoors and the indoors of the mansion, which is included in the former fortress, preserve Baroque and Rococo features. The most remarkable internal areas of the huge mansion are:
an exquisite private theatre from 1742. The Sala della Mappa, the Sala Campione, the Sala Fratina, the Sala dell’Affresco, the Sala del Caminetto, the Sala dello Stemma and the Sala Virginia. All of them have frescoed walls and are sumptuously furnished and decorated.
In the second half of the 20th century the property was sold to the Società Vinicola Toscana which produces some of the most renowned Chianti Classico and Chianti wines.
The countryside which surrounds the castle has an extension of 1.000 ha circa, 200 of which are given to the vineyards growing and it subsequently production of wine.
Their main labels are:
- Chianti Classico DOCG
- Chianti Classico DOCG Reserve
- Castello di Meleto Fiore
- Castello di Meleto Vinsanto
An excellent extra-virgin olive oil coming from the Castle’s olive groves is also there produced.
Where to eat:
- Ristorante-Pizzeria “Alto Chianti”: In Località Castagnoli, close to Gaiole in Chianti.
Is a pleasant and popular both restaurant and pizzeria. Their specialties are the tasty grilled red and white local meats, fresh fish and a good variety of full-size delicious pizzas.
Wine list included local Chianti and Chianti Classico wines.It has a pretty terrace for meals in season.
Main Towns of Chianti
Badia a Passignano,
Barberino val d' Elsa,
Castellina in Chianti,
Castello di Brolio,
Castello di Gabbiano,
Castello di Meleto,
Colle Val D' Elsa,
Greve in Chianti,
Mercatale Val di Pesa,
Panzano in Chianti,
Radda in Chianti,
Tavernelle Val di Pesa,
Badia a Coltibuono.
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