The Brolio castle has a Longobard origin, although today of the ancient original small fortress remain only the location.
The castle of Brolio has a Longobard origin, although today of the ancient original small fortress remain only the location. Its role in the history began to be remarkable at the beginning of the 12th century, when the powerful feudal family of the Ricasoli from Cacchiano took office on it. Still today the castle belongs to their descendants.
Its position was always strategical for the control of this area of Chianti, edge of the Florentine influence at the borders with the Sienese territory. For this reason, since the 13th up to the mid 16th century, the castle was often interested in frontier wars. We are in fact in the heart of the Florentine territory of the 'Chianti League' - formed by the 'terzieri' (terzieris) of Radda, Castellina and Gaiole - rich of feudal presence and strongly contended between the two big cities of Florence and Siena.
All the castles of the zone, either Florentine that Sienese, were aside always strengthened, so much that two real contrasting defensive lines were created.
The castle was always in the hands of Florence, to the exception of a temporary Sienese occupation after the second Aragonese invasion of the Chianti in 1472. Consequently at this event, from 1484 when the castle returned Florentine, began a great work of restructuring and expansion of the fortification to adeguate the walls at the new fire weapons, so we can consider Brolio one of the first 'Italian bastionated fortresses'.
Its ramparts, in stone and still today in perfect state, have an irregular pentagonal plan with a primitive structure if comparated with the development that this new form of fortification had in the following years.
It is not certain, but it seems that the architect responsible of the work was Giuliano da Sangallo, sharpening his fortificatory art at the service of the Medici.
This bastioned walls enclose the rests of the original medieval castle, above all the keep and the Roman Chapel, over that a neo-gothic building was build to the place of the preexisting one from the Baron Bettino Ricasoli, 1809-1880, famous political man of the last century, known also as the 'Iron Baron'.
The castle rises at the center of boundless vineyards, from which since 1141 the Ricasoli distilled their famous wines, place to grow old in the cellars inside the mighty walls of the fortress. Brolio is private property but it is visible with the exception of the baronial building. Is still possible to complete the walk of the ramparts, from which we can have splendid sights on the Chianti region.