The Tuscany region in central Italy is famous for its breathtaking landscapes, picturesque views, and fantastic wine. And one of the best things to do while visiting Tuscany is to check out some of the region’s impressive castles.
And there certainly are a lot of them. So what are the best castles in Tuscany that you shouldn’t miss?
With so many castles dotting the Tuscan countryside, it’s tough to decide which are the best ones that you should devote time to visiting. To make it easier for you, we’ve come up with this complete list of the 12 best castles in Tuscany!
Best Castles in Tuscany
1. Poppi Castle
One of the other must-visit castles during your Tuscan adventure is Poppi Castle, located atop one of the massive hills that Tuscany is well-known for. With its original construction being completed in the 13th century, Poppi Castle has a long history of its own, offering visitors a glimpse into the past and a chilling history that draws people in from all over to check it out.
When you take a look at Poppi Castle, you’ll immediately notice a difference in architecture and design between the two sides. And on one of the sides, you’ll see a prominent tower.
This tower is not only interesting to look at but has an intriguing backstory. It’s believed in the local area that there used to be a woman, a member of the Guido family, who would trap visiting men in the tower and keep them locked away.
After a while, the people of the nearby village decided to revolt against her and locked her up in the tower herself, walling her in and not allowing her to escape ever again. This may or may not just be an urban legend, but it’s certainly enough to draw people in (and maybe turn a few others away!).
But if you can brave it out, consider checking Poppi Castle out for the rich history and breathtaking views you can get from the top of its towers. If you’re looking for a place to stay near the attraction you can find cheap hotels near the castle.
2. Castello Malaspina
As one of the most impressive looking castles in all of Tuscany, Castello Malaspina is a must-see while you’re in the region. Constructed in the mid-1300s, Castello Malaspina is a mainstay of Tuscan history and one of the best-preserved structures in this region from this time. The castle towers pre-date the majority of the castle itself, as they were used extensively for defensive purposes over a hundred years before the rest of the castle was even constructed.
A medieval castle consisting of impressive stone construction, four tall towers looming overhead, and beautiful courtyards to explore, Castello Malaspina is one of the castles that should be on everyone’s shortlist of places they want to visit. Take a look around the castle grounds as you stroll through the courtyards and even walk through the patrol trenches that were used nearly a thousand years ago. Catch views of the Tyrrhenian Sea from the top of the castle’s towers and walls.
Go inside the castle for an even more incredible experience. The castle’s interior includes a labyrinth of halls and rooms that have the same decorations that were put in place nearly 200 years ago.
The walls are adorned with instruments of torture, ancient artifacts, and artwork everywhere you look. If you want to explore medieval Tuscan castles to see what life was like back in the day, then stopping by Castello Malaspina is an absolute must. You can book a wonderful private tour of the area surrounding the castle and see it tower above you.
See Related: Best Villas in Siena for Rent
3. Castello del Boccale (Boccale Castle)
For arguably one of the coolest images you can imagine when it comes to castles in Tuscany, consider visiting Castello del Boccale. Located right on the coast of Livorno in Tuscany, Castello del Boccale was built right into the side of a cliff, with the raging waters below.
Imagine the scenes you’ve likely seen in the movies, of waves crashing up against the bottom of a cliff with a stunning castle built on top. Those scenes come to life at Castello del Boccale and make it a worthwhile visit.
This castle was not only lived in by the famous Medici family of Florence like a few of the other ones on this list, but the Medici family built it in the 16th century. As one of the most famous and most powerful families in Italian history, that alone makes Castello del Boccale rich with history. Combine this deep history with the aesthetics of its location and its stunning construction, and it’s something you don’t want to miss.
The only thing about visiting Castello del Boccale that you should keep in mind is that it’s not open to the public to tour. That’s because the castle has been transformed into apartments in recent years.
Can you imagine living in a castle overlooking the waves crashing down below? It’s something right out of the movies that the residents get to live every day. But even though you can’t tour the inside, exploring the grounds and seeing the exterior is well worth it.
4. Castello di Vicarello
The Castello di Vicarello, located in southern Tuscany, is one of the few Tuscany castles that you can stay at. This former castle is now a luxurious retreat complete with a spa and swimming pool with beautiful gardens, just an hour from Siena.
This majestic castle, located on private property, underwent a 12-year renovation. Today it is on the list of the most amazing castles to stay in, even Conde Nast agrees. You can book your stay at this link. And yes, your pet can come too!
The Castello di Vicarello has beautiful rooms and suites. Onsite is a restaurant with gourmet menus. The castle staff can book your a wine tour of local wine cellars, and organize guided tours for groups. Book your stay here, it will be a trip of a lifetime!
See Related: Best Villas on the Tuscany Coast
5. Castello di Sammezzano
For a unique castle in Tuscany, you should consider visiting Castello di Sammezzano. Located in Leccio, Castello di Sammezzano is built in a different style than many other castles you’ll find on this list. After being converted to the Oriental style of architecture during the mid-1800s.
Even though it’s not open to the public, it is well worth visiting if you can get a tour booked ahead of time. Its unique construction and design make it a sight to see and unlike anything else you’ll find in Tuscany. The castle’s interiors are particularly impressive and unique.
Erected in the 17th century, Castello di Sammezzano has been owned by a multitude of different people and families, much more so than the average castle in Tuscany. During its history, the Castello di Sammezzano has even been owned by members of the Medici family, one of the most influential families in Italian history.
But the current version of the castle we see today, the Oriental design, was instituted by Ferdinando Panciatichi Ximenes D’Aragona when he took ownership in the 19th century. If you want to visit this castle, make sure you book a group tour ahead of time (contact us for assistance). This is because the castle is closed off to the public and only available to the public during group tours booked straight through the castle’s website.
6. Castello di Verrazzano (Verazzano Castle)
One of the oldest castles in all of Tuscany, Castello di Verrazzano, was built back in the 7th century. If the name Verrazzano sounds familiar to you, you’ve likely heard of the famous sailor Giovanni Verrazzano, who found the bay of New York many years ago. His family of the same name constructed this ancient castle in the Chianti region and began inhabiting it upon completing construction.
Due to its location in the Chianti region of Tuscany, you might guess that Castello di Verrazzano has something to do with wine-making and vineyards, and you would be correct. This castle has an astounding 5,200 acres of vineyards surrounding it for wine production. These vineyards have been used for the last 900 years for wine-making and are still used to this very day for the same reason.
The castle itself is not open to the public, but it can be accessed if you book a group tour in advance (contact us for assistance). These tours will include an experience through the inside of the castle and look at some of the vineyards and an authentic Tuscan lunch and, of course, wine tasting.
So check out the castle grounds and appreciate it from afar, or take a tour of the castle for the full experience. No matter how you choose to take it all in, Castello di Verrazzano is worth the visit.
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7. Castello di Brolio (Brolio Castle)
Situated in the famous wine-tasting region of Chianti, Castello di Brolio is an imposing structure rich with history and stunning to see in person. Constructed nearly a thousand years ago, being completed in the year 1141, Castello di Brolio has long stood as one of the most important structures in Chianti.
Owned by the Ricasoli family since its original construction, the castle is not just located in the famous wine region of Chianti. It’s where Chianti wine was invented. How’s that for Tuscan history? Created by Baron Bettino Ricasoli in 1872 — the same Ricasoli family that’s owned the castle since it was built — Chianti wine is a mainstay of Tuscany, making the importance of Castello di Brolio even more prevalent.
But don’t let its history with wine define the castle. It’s been an important part of Tuscan history elsewhere as well. Part of numerous wars and battles, this castle has defended the region since it was built, but now offers visitors a place to spend time and explore.
You’ll find over 3,000 acres, including 26 olive groves and hundreds of acres of vineyards when you come here. Try to visit Castello di Brolio at sunset to get a glimpse of the region’s beauty.
8. Castello Sonnino
If you want to splurge and stay in the best castle hotel anywhere in Tuscany, then Castello Sonnino needs to be at the top of your list. Although it could be considered a massive villa rather than a castle, the locals still refer to it as a castle.
Castello Sonnino is one of the most intriguing places that you could stay in all of Italy, not just in Tuscany. And although it is not cheap to rent out, you should make it happen if you can swing it.
Although much of its history is as a castle hotel, you could only rent out the tower in the past. You are now able to rent out the entire property for yourself or your group (contact us for help).
Can you imagine renting out a real castle, including its grounds for a vacation? That would truly be a trip that would create everlasting memories for you and anyone else involved. Not only would your memories be great, but the time spent at Castello Sonnino would be some of the best of your life.
Castello Sonnino has plenty to offer its visitors that will make your stay one for the ages. Inside, you’ll find a library, a full kitchen, massive great rooms with a fireplace, and even its own chapel for prayer.
You even get access to the property’s entire collection of Chianti wine when you stay here, as well as the private lake. Don’t forget about the absolutely breathtaking views of the endless blue water of the sea that you get due to the castle being perched on the top of a cliff. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience that you will never forget.
See Related: Villa Rentals in Tuscany
9. Castello di Banfi (Banfi Castle)
If you want to visit arguably the most visually stunning castle in all of Tuscany (and if you’re reading this list, why wouldn’t you?), then you should add Castello di Banfi to your itinerary. When we say it’s one of the best castles in the area, we’re talking all things included — the castle itself, the landscape around it, the backdrop of the Tuscany countryside. All combined, Banfi Castle is a picturesque place to visit and something you don’t want to miss.
Situated among the gorgeous rolling hills of Tuscany and surrounded by vineyards in just about all directions, it’s breathtaking to see. Not only that, but Castello di Banfi is also a luxury hotel that you can stay at during your trip.
You can book your memorable stay at Banfi here. Perfect for a relaxing getaway with that special someone, choosing to stay at Castello di Banfi will be an experience literally unlike anything else in the world.
At Banfi Castle, you’ll have access to a life of luxury. Private horseback riding tours through Tuscany, hot air balloon rides to get the best possible views, a spa with every amenity possible. Even if you don’t choose to stay at the hotel, visiting Castello di Banfi is a must during your Tuscan excursion.
10. Gargonza Castle
Gargonza Castle is a former medieval castle located in the beautiful region of Tuscany, Italy. It dates back to 1090, and has been lovingly restored by its current owners for over two decades. Today it is a beautiful castle hotel that you can stay at.
The castle offers stunning views of rolling hills and vineyards, as well as other sights such as the nearby hamlet of Monte San Savino. The castle is surrounded by a nature reserve, so you can enjoy the peace and tranquility of the countryside during your stay.
Gargonza Castle is just a few hours’ drive from Florence and other popular attractions in Tuscany, making it the perfect base for exploring the region’s castles and villages. Book your stay at this stunning castle here.
See Related: Amalfi Coast Villas
11. Meleto Castle
Next on the list of best castles in Tuscany is the wonderful Meleto Castle. Located in the Chianti countryside, this castle hotel is a beautiful place to stay (book your stay here). You can enjoy local wines from the castle which is located on a hill overlooking the beautiful countryside.
Meleto Castle used to belong to a group of Benedictine monks. The castle dates back to the 11th century and has a rich history given its location between Florence and Siena. It was a coveted castle by both cities and became the center of several fights although the castle walls never sustained much damage.
You can also visit Meleto Castle through this private wine tour that provides tours of three castles in Tuscany as well as wine tastings in each of these beautiful castles! We highly recommend booking this tour on GetYourGuide.
12. Palazzo Vecchio
Palazzo Vecchio is an amazing castle located in the city center of Florence. Palazzo Vecchio doesn’t look like a castle, but it has a crazy history. This castle was built by the town’s citizens back when it was a medieval village in 1299.
The castle belonged to the Medici family and still maintains its original renaissance style complete with giant frescoes by Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo.
Today, you can tour the castle. Our favorite tour is this guided one that takes you through the castle to learn all its secrets, including secret passageways! You can book the tour through GetYourGuide here, but make sure to buy in advance as it sells out.
See Related: Best Towns In Tuscany To Stay
13. Vicchiomaggio Castle
Vicchiomaggio Castle is one of the most beautiful castles in Tuscany. This is also at the top of our list for castle hotels as it boasts beautiful rooms and suites right within the original castle walls.
Vicchiomaggio Castle is located in Greve and dates back to the 1400s. From here you can enjoy the architectural style of a true medieval castle with modern amenities. While many castles in Tuscany have become hotels, none rise to the level of Vicchiomagio. You can book your stay here.
The castle is also a winery that hosts events and guided tours. While visiting you can learn all about the history of the castle while enjoying their own wines.
Are there castles in Tuscany?
Yes, there are several castles in Tuscany, many of which have been around since the Middle Ages.
Why are there so many castles in Tuscany?
In the past, castles were built for protection. Most castles in Tuscany are on the outskirts of major cities like Florence or Siena. During the middle ages, many castles in Tuscany were built for protection from (or for) these cities.
What is the oldest castle in Tuscany?
The oldest castle is Castle Vincigliata which dates back to 1031. This castle is located near Florence, overlooking Fiesole.