Montalcino, capital of Brunello wine, is one of the most important and beautiful cities in scenic Val d’Orcia. The hilly landscape has not only been fertile ground for wine makers but also the perfect defensive outposts for castles and fortresses.
Castello Banfi, Montalcino
Castello di Poggio alle Mura is the original name of Castello Banfi. The latter refers to the renowned winery that runs the property and owns the castle. It is about 20 minutes away from the center of Montalcino and a little over 2 hours from Florence.
The position of Poggio alle Mura castle was chosen for the fertility of the surrounding lands but also for its strategic location between Siena and Grosseto. Even though the official records date the castle to 1377, archeological finds have shown that the structure has Etruscan and Roman origins. By 1438 it was considered one of the biggest castles in the Siena area.
In 1978, the Italian-American Mariani brothers bought the castle and surrounding land and brought the Castello Banfi brand to Montalcino. Castello Banfi is much more than a winemaker though. The beautiful fortified village made of stone and brick offers the complete Tuscan luxury experience. Visitors can take a guided tour of the property, discover the wine and balsamic vinegar cellars, eat at one of its two restaurants or stay in one of the luxury suites.
Rocca di Montalcino
The Rocca or Fortezza di Montalcino is located in the center of town. Montalcino strategic location overlooking the Via Francigena (the main access between Florence and Rome) has been endlessly fought over by Florence and Siena. According to which city had dominion over Montalcino, the fortress was either built or destroyed, which makes it very difficult to date it accurately. By the second half of the 14th century, the town is officially in Sienese hands and construction of the fortress starts anew. Montalcino becomes one of the most important towns in the area.
The fortress is still mostly intact and has kept its original pentagonal shape with towers on each corner. Visitors can walk around the parapets and soak up the amazing views of the Tuscan countryside. The Rocca is also home to an Enoteca La Fortezza, a wine shop and restaurant where you can discover everything there is to know about the local crus.
If you’re curious about Montalcino and its castles, why not book a visit with our tour operator I Just Drive? A driver and guide will be happy to make you discover this incredible town and the neighbouring city of Montepulciano over the space of a day.
There’s more castles to be explored: