Hidden treasures

Sammezzano Castle: an oriental dream near Florence

Unknown places & works

Sammezzano Castle: an oriental dream near Florence

In Leccio, a small town in the municipality of Reggello, 30 km from Florence, there is an oriental castle, of the sort you would see in 'Arabian Nights'. You may be wondering why there is a building in perfect Moorish style in the middle of Tuscany... well, it is an interesting story and we want to tell you all about it.

The origins of Castle Sammezzano are very old, it seems that even Charlemagne stayed there. However, it must be mentioned that back then the building had none of its current features, which were added on by one of its owners, the eclectic Ferdinand Panciatici Xiemenes of Aragon. He was an open-minded intellectual with a keen interest in architecture, botany and Orientalism. He blended these passions in the construction of the castle, from 1853 to 1859 with the help of skilled craftsmen, which became the Moorish jewel as it is now. What are its characteristics? Each of its rooms is like a trip to a different country: Spain, China, Morocco and India. Its stucco paintings, for example, are reminiscent of the Alhambra in Granada, while the façade is extraordinarily similar to the Taj Mahal. Moving from one room to another, this journey will leave you speechless and raptured by its enchanting splendour. From bright colours in rooms entirely covered with majolica, to fan vaulting that creates beautiful geometric designs on a completely white room.

Unfortunately, Castle Sammezzano, after being used as a luxury hotel after World War II, came into the hands of a British company that left it in a state of neglect. The Ferdinand Panciatici Xiemenes committee, thanks to a team of volunteers, organizes guided tours: to take part in them your name must be put on the list in a special section of the association's website. Meanwhile, if you're interested in admiring this wonder, watch the video of the song 'Now or never' by Dolce Nera: accompanied by the melody of the song, you will be transported into a fascinating journey inside the castle.

If you have a whole day available, make the most of it to visit the Tuscan capital with one of our tours: Florence, the 'Cradle of the Renaissance', at less than one hour's drive from the beautiful Castle of Sammezzano!

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

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