Sarteano Castle : between Valdichiana and Val d’Orcia

Sarteano Castle - Schloss Sarteano - Castillo del Sarteano

Sarteano Castle, located between the Val di Chiana and Val d'Orcia, is a majestic fortress built on a travertine rock massif. This historic structure offers spectacular panoramic views of the Tuscan countryside. With a history dating back to 1038, the castle has withstood numerous sieges, including those of Cesare Borgia and the Spanish army. After being restored in 2006, the castle is now a cultural center that hosts events and happenings. Visiting it offers an immersion in centuries of history, enriched by local nature and culture.

Discover the Castle of Sarteano

The Castle of Sarteano is situated on a hill between the Val di Chiana and Val d’Orcia. It is an imposing structure that dominates the surrounding landscape and is one of Tuscany’s historical jewels. Built on a rocky travertine massif, the castle offers spectacular views of the countryside. Approaching Sarteano, the castle’s majestic profile immediately catches the eye, a reminder of centuries of history and battles. Its strategic location and the sturdiness of its walls tell of its defensive importance over the centuries. Today, Sarteano Castle is not only a historical monument, but also a place of discovery and contemplation, where visitors can immerse themselves in an atmosphere of yesteryear. Indeed, it is possible to explore its ancient structures and enjoy breathtaking views encompassing the entire valley.

The Structure of the Castle

The Castle of Sarteano is an imposing fortress spread over four floors, each with unique architectural features. At the center of the castle stands the keep, surrounded by massive walls interrupted by circular towers. One of the most fascinating features of the structure is the spiral staircase, consisting of 134 travertine steps, that runs vertically through the building. This staircase was not only a connecting route between floors, but also served as a last escape route in case of siege. In fact, it connected the top floor directly to the first floor and led into the open countryside. The final terracing of the keep offers a breathtaking panoramic view of the Val di Chiana and surrounding lakes, creating an ideal vantage point for admiring the landscape. The interior rooms, though bare, allow one to imagine the life of the garrisons that once resided there.

The History

Sarteano Castle boasts a rich and fascinating history, with its earliest documentary traces dating back to 1038. Originally owned by the Manenti counts, the castle came under the control of the Republic of Siena in 1280. It then went through a complete renovation in 1469. This restoration is attributed to the well-known Sienese architect Lorenzo di Pietro di Giovanni di Lando, known as “Il Vecchietta.” The work of “vecchietta” represents a significant example of the transition from the Gothic to the Renaissance style. In 1556 Sarteano Castle became part of the Medici domain with the end of the Republic of Siena. Later, in 1617, Grand Duke Cosimo II gave the castle to Brandimarte Fanelli and his descendants, who owned it until 1997, when it was purchased by the municipality of Sarteano and underwent major restoration.

The Sieges and Wars of Sarteano Castle

Sarteano Castle has withstood numerous sieges and conflicts over the centuries, proving its strategic importance. One of the most notorious sieges was that of 1503 by Cesare Borgia, the feared Renaissance condottiere. Despite the ferocity of the attack, the castle resisted, demonstrating its ability to defend itself. Another significant siege occurred in 1552, when the Spanish army attempted to conquer the fortress. On this occasion, too, the castle managed to resist. In 1556, the castle came under Medici control, marking the end of the Republic of Siena. Under Medici rule, the castle was further strengthened to ensure its impregnability. Each siege has left marks and stories that still fascinate visitors today.The Sarteano Castle is thus a silent witness to the turbulent historical events of Tuscany and medieval and Renaissance Italy.

The Restoration and Municipal Ownership of Sarteano Castle

In 1997, after having been the private property of the Fanelli family for nearly four centuries, Sarteano Castle was purchased by the Municipality of Sarteano. This passage marked the beginning of a new era for the fortress, which underwent a careful and lengthy restoration to return it to its former glory. The restoration, completed in 2006, was carried out with the aim of preserving the historical and architectural features of the castle while making it accessible and safe for visitors. Today the castle is open to the public, and offers tourists and history buffs the chance to explore its floors, spiral staircases, and enjoy the panoramic view from the top of the keep. The municipality’s initiative has transformed the castle into an important cultural center in which events, exhibitions, and shows are held regularly.

The Peace Park around Sarteano Castle

The Castle of Sarteano is a magnificent historical structure surrounded by an enchanting natural park, known as the Parco della Pace (Peace Park).  This park, in which there are centuries-old holm oaks and other varieties of plants, amplifies the beauty and serenity of the place. The Castle, surrounded by the park, create an oasis of tranquility detached and isolated from the village below. Walking through the shady paths, visitors can immerse themselves in nature, enjoying moments of peace and relaxation. The park not only offers a refuge from the hustle and bustle of daily life, but is also an ideal place for picnics, walks and contemplation. The ancient castle walls and towers emerging among the ancient trees add a touch of magic and mystery to the environment. Peace Park is thus a perfect extension of the castle, combining history and nature in a unique and rejuvenating experience.

Cultural and Food and Wine Events at Sarteano Castle

Sarteano Castle is not only a historical testimony, but also a lively cultural center that hosts numerous events throughout the year. Events ranging from historical re-enactments to art exhibitions, from concerts to food and wine festivals take place within its ancient walls and in the Peace Park. These events offer visitors a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in local culture and to be able to taste the typical flavors of Tuscany. In fact, food and wine festivals attract fans from all over Italy and abroad, eager to taste fine wines and culinary specialties of the Valdichiana. Historical re-enactments, with period costumes and medieval performances, bring back to life the ancient splendor of the castle. These events not only enrich Sarteano’s cultural offerings, but also help to enhance the historical heritage and promote tourism in the region.

What to See in Sarteano

In addition to the majestic Sarteano Castle, the small village offers numerous treasures to discover. The historic center, with its cobblestone streets and stone houses, is a fascinating place to stroll and soak up the medieval atmosphere. Highlights include the Church of San Lorenzo, which preserves precious frescoes, and the Museo Civico Archeologico, which displays Etruscan artifacts of great historical value. For lovers of nature and outdoor walks, Sarteano offers evocative routes, such as those leading to Boccalaciana and the Peschiera, where it is possible to admire ancient roadways from Etruscan times. The two Via Cupe, with their cuts in the local travertine, are another fascinating attraction. These walks allow you to explore unspoiled nature and enjoy breathtaking panoramic views. Sarteano is therefore an ideal destination for those who wish to combine history, culture and natural beauty.

Visit to Sarteano Castle from Poggio del Drago

Visiting Sarteano Castle and the surrounding village is an unforgettable experience that combines history, culture and nature. To make your visit even more special, we invite you to stay at the B&B Country House Poggio del Drago, located in the picturesque countryside near Civitella in Val di Chiana. This cozy B&B offers a relaxing, family-friendly atmosphere, with comfortable rooms and beautiful views of the Tuscan countryside. After a day of exploring, you can relax in the B&B’s swimming pool or stroll through the manicured gardens. Poggio del Drago’s strategic location makes it easy for you to reach Sarteano and other fascinating locations in the Valdichiana and Val d’Orcia. Choosing the B&B Country House Poggio del Drago means living an authentic Tuscan experience, enjoying the beauty of the landscapes, the historical richness and the warm local hospitality.