Castello di Brolio Wine & Tour
Castello di Brolio is located in Tuscany, near Gaiole in Chianti, a town in the province of Siena. This is one of the most beautiful and well-known castles in the whole region. Brolio Castle is famous for several reasons:
- History: it is a medieval fortress that dates back to the 9th century and has a long history of battles linked to the wars between Florence and Siena.
- Wine: Castello di Brolio is famous for the production of Chianti Classico wine, one of the most renowned wines in Italy. The castle cellar is open to the public for guided tours and tastings.
- Architecture: the castle is a magnificent example of medieval and neo-gothic architecture, a real jewel.
- Landscape: Brolio is located in a privileged position overlooking the Chianti hills, one of the most beautiful areas of Tuscany.
In summary, Castello di Brolio is a place that attracts both for its history and for its current wine production, for the beauty of the architecture and for the beauty of the surrounding landscape.
The toponym “Brolio” derives from the Celtic and refers to a wooded estate with a castle inhabited by its lord. The castle probably dates back to the 10th century or possibly earlier. In the 12th century, the territory and the castle became the property of the noble Florentine family of the Ricasolis who have maintained possession of them until today.
Brolio Castle was the last outpost of the Florentine Republic on the border with its great rival Siena and therefore it played an important strategic military role for a long time. It is therefore no coincidence that the castle has been the object of numerous attacks over the centuries, such as in 1252 and 1434 by the Sienese and in 1452 by the Aragonese. In 1478, a new attack by Siena, which this time made use of powerful bombards, caused considerable damage to the fortress walls.
Once the war between Florence and Siena was over, with the definitive defeat of the latter, the castle was converted into a valuable noble residence. In this period, the wine production that had already existed for several centuries was expanded.
An important name in the history of Brolio is that of Bettino Ricasoli, an important politician who also covered the role of Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Italy during his career. Bettino Ricasoli had the castle restructured, giving it its current neo-Gothic form and in the meantime devoted himself at length to the art of viticulture. His goal was to make the best possible wine and, after various experiments, he managed to define which were the best grapes to use for Chianti Classico wine, thus laying the foundations for the specification that is still in force today.
The architecture of the castle is characterized by a fortified structure which has the shape of a noble palace. The main tower overlooks an internal courtyard, which was used as a parade ground during the Middle Ages. The castle also has a private chapel, which was founded in 1348 but which was remodeled during the 19th century. Most of the castle’s structures have been preserved and restored, including the walls, towers and entrance gates.
Over the centuries the castle has been enlarged and transformed to adapt to the needs of the various owners and the necessities of war. Most of the renovations date back to 1835 when Bettino Ricasoli commissioned the architect Pietro Marchetti to redo the look of the castle to give it a neo-Gothic appearance. The original structures and the newer ones are easily distinguishable thanks to the different materials used: pietra serena in the case of the medieval works, brick in the more recent ones.
Wine tour at Castello di Brolio
Castello di Brolio offers wine tours to introduce visitors to the history and production of Chianti Classico wine. The tours include a visit to the medieval castle and the cellar, where it is possible to see how the wines are made and to taste the various types of Chianti Classico produced by the Ricasoli cellar. Furthermore, visitors can take a stroll through the castle’s vineyards and learn how grapes are grown and how they affect the taste of the wine. Tours can be booked in advance and are led by expert guides who can provide detailed information on the history, production and tasting of Chianti Classico wine.
Visiting hours and price of Castello di Brolio
The visiting hours of the Brolio Castle may vary according to the season and weather conditions. I recommend that you visit the castle’s official website or contact the establishment directly to obtain information on the dates and times of visits. In general, the castle and cellar tours take place outside the winter period. As regards the price of the visit, it should be considered that there are different types of tours with prices ranging from 6.50 euros for a visit to the castle gardens up to 150 euros for the “gran cru tour” which includes a private visit with tasting and lunch.
How to get to the Castello di Brolio
By car the castle is easily reachable by car from the main cities of Tuscany, such as Florence and Siena, via the Chianti state road 222. Those coming from the north and using the A1 motorway must take the Valdarno exit and then continue on the SP408 in the direction of Gaiole; there you will find signs for the castle. Those coming from the south instead must choose the Valdichiana exit and continue on the SS715 in the direction of Castelnuovo Berardenga and then continue towards the castle.
Less simple is to reach the castle by public transport. The nearest railway station is in Siena, from where it is possible to take a bus or a taxi to reach the castle.