The castle with its magnificent
romanesque parish stands along the way of "via Francigena",
in the stretch from San Miniato to San Gimignano.
Surrounded by an estate of more than 300 hectares cultivated
in vineyards, olive groves and in part for pasture, the
complex of the Castle and of the Farm is constituted by
the old villa master and of a series of colonial houses
positioned in a charming natural frame, with splendid woods
and three lovely lakes. Belonging in the past to some of
the most noble florentine families among which the "Davanzati",
the "Albizi" and the "Pucci", the castle
was famous ever since the year 1300 for the quality of
its wine and the goodness of its oil, that today, like
then represents the farm's major resourse.
Whether it be the modern visitor who will choose Coiano
as a stop within a larger itinerary of the Valdelsa or
the traveller who will stop in this small village for
a quiet stay surrounded by nature, the charm of the markings
of the past will not escape them.
The ancient parish of Saint Peter and Paul sits in the
immediate vicinity of the Castle, on a delightful hillock
within a frame of olive and cypress trees. Their austere
and elegant shape makes a true jewel of the romanesque
art. A picturesche flight of steps leads one to the front
of the castle, where the inferiore area is built with
the use of jagged rock that goes back to the most ancient
building practices and is followed by a layer of fired
bricks that, according to a technical expert, represents
one of the most remarkable works of the territory. Just
inside one can once again admire some capitals finely
decorated with geometric designs that go back to the
first stages of construction.
The parish was built along the stretch of road between
Via Francigena that links Lucca and Siena and goes back
to the year 1000 as documented. For almost all of the
middle ages this road remained the only access possible
for pilgrims or travellers to use for crossing Italy
on their way to Rome, as proof, a list of places was
provided by the Archbishop of Canterbury in his journey
from London to Rome at the end of the 10th Century.
Even the founding of the Castle must be linked to the
existence of this important road artery and the first
use of the villa was probably a kind of military base
that had among its duties that of collecting the taxes
for the crossing of Francegena.
Therefore at first acting as a customs garrison, the
Castle, later was used for other purposes, mainly argicultural.
It distinguished itself during the year 1300 for its
production of oil and wine. A letter dated "Coiano,
30th January 1383" writes, found a palace by Davanzati
in "Via Porta Rossa" in Florence and is signed
by the farmerf Migliorato di Ser Riccomanno that informs
us of the excellent quality of these products; its consumptionfwrites
the farmer,"is not for family use."
It was infact some of the most noble florentine families
to boast of their personal possessions from these lands.
The castle belonged in the past to the Albizi, the Venturi,
and the Masetti to later pass onto the ecletic Elia Volpi,
the restorer painter and fine connaisseur offlorentine
art in the year 1921. In the second half of the 1800
the Countess Carlotta Masetti who extravagantly modernized
the wine industry of Coiano, so much that the farm was
awarded a gold medal in 1885 in the governing pagent.
Left untouched is the most ancient part of the cellar
that was destined for ageing wine and positioned 18 meters
deep; that still today hosts gastronomy fairs and a variety
of activities linked to wine and its history.