Tuscany, and especialy Florence, is world-wide known as the cradle of the Renaissance. Thousands of churches, noble palaces, city houses and gardens are perfect examples of this style. I think, no one could even immagine that only 40 kilometres south of Florence it is possible to find a magic castle in moorish style.
Sammezzano Castle is toped on the high hill, surrounded by wide garden and green forests nearby. The castle was built in 1605 thanks to the Spanish noble Ximenes of Aragon. His progeny Ferdinand Panciatichi Ximenes two centuries later re-designed Sammezzano Castle in very particuar and unique style that remindes me mostly the fairy-tale and not an integral style. You are wondering why? Because each room of Sammezzano Castle is decorated in different styles, breathtaking assortment of patterns and colors.
When I first entered the Sammezzano Castle I could‘t believe my eyes. I found enormous White Room with Moroccan mosaic tiled floors, engraved walls and iron chandeliers. The Peacock Room surprised my with incredible colors and geometries. The Hall of Lilies was full of soft daylight illuminating bright blue walls and golden lilies on them. The Stalactites Room reminded me precisely carved caves. The Hall of Mirrors, the octagon Smoking Room, the Lovers Room an many other magical spaces makes each visitor feel somewhere else than Tuscany. In these spaces there are hidden niches, corners, windows, columns, labyrinthine paths, capitals, arches, vaults and domes. This is the magic created by the man, Ferdinand Panciatichi Ximenes, who has never been outside Italy!
Despite some urgent restoration work in 1999, it has been largely abandoned and closed to the public. Unfortunately it is still not possible to visit Sammezzano castle, except on extraordinary occasions. You can check the information about it on www.sammezzano.org.
See more pictures by Luca Bertinotti on Flickr.