Earlier this week, I took a walk up a nearby hill, from which I could see three castles: Castello di Porciano, Castello di Romena, and Castello dei Conti Guidi – Poppi. They are joined in the history of the Casentino Valley and each is special in its own way.
I wrote about my first visit to Castello di Porciano here. On this visit, I’m staying at a cottage on the grounds, learning more about the area, and appreciating how wonderful it is to be perched high on a hill, with views of the valley and the other two castles.
The current owner’s parents, Flaminia Goretti de Flamini and George A. Specht, restored the tower of Castello di Porciano over a period of years in the 1960s and 1970s. The lower floors of the tower house a museum, in which are displayed domestic and agricultural artifacts from the Casentino valley and archeological finds from excavations of the Castle. Various events take place at the castle during the summer months, including lectures and musical performances in “Dante’s Hall” and activities for children, such as an ‘afternoon in the Middle Ages.’
The next castle, distance-wise, as I look out from the hill, is Castello di Romena, much of which is a ruin. What is special to me about this castle is how it looks from both Porciano and the valley. From Porciano, the castle towers are outlined against the hills behind them, as are the cypresses on the road to the castle. From the valley, the castle towers stand tall and proud and every time I drive towards them, I think, ‘beautiful Romena.’
The third castle is Castello dei Conti Guidi – Poppi. Visiting this castle was on my ‘must do’ list and I enjoyed every minute of my time there. I learned a lot of history that day and even better, my interest was piqued to learn more. One of the best parts of the castle for me is the Rilliana Library – entering these two rooms of ancient books and manuscripts was like entering a church. I also enjoyed my climb of the bell tower, although I had to make sure I was out of the tower before the bells rang at noon or I would have been deafened! The views from the top were spectacular.
Three castles and I love them all!