Tuscany: Castello di Brolio

Posted on 4 Aug ’12 by Earl

Earl Moore Photography
Castello di Brolio, Tuscany, Italy

We’d scheduled a tour of the Castello di Brolio and then dinner nearby for our last evening in Tuscany. However due to a late start and a longer drive then anticipated we missed joining the official castle tour group. Here’s a little information about this landmark:

“The impressive Castello di Brolio dominates the southern Chianti Classico countryside and has done so for over ten centuries. Located on top of an isolated hill a few kilometers from Gaiole in Chianti, the castle has Lombardic origins and has been property of the Ricasoli family since 1141.

Even though it is closer to Siena, which can be seen in the distance and is just 20 km away, the castle has always been under the influence of Florence and used as one of its strategical outposts. Because of this, the castle was besieged and destroyed many times over the centuries. Every time it has been reconstructed following the style of the current age. It suffered its last attack during World War II, as can be noticed by the holes left by shrapnel all over facade.

The castle we see today is partly the new-Gothic reconstruction ordered by Bettino Ricasoli in the 1800s. The Renaissance gardens with typical geometric shaped bushes and the English woods are stunning and from here you can admire a breathtaking view over the Chianti region. On the horizon, during clear, sunny days, you can clearly see Siena.”

Since 1141, the Ricasoli family has been making wines from the vineyards surrounding their estate, Brolio Castle, making it the world’s 2nd oldest winemaking operation and the oldest under continuous family control.

Baron Ricasoli still has residency in the castle but also a home in Florence, Italy.  He still runs the family businesses and vineyards.  I’ll share more on the vineyards in a later post.

Earl Moore Photography
Castello di Brolio wall, Tuscany, Italy

Missing the tour group turned into a very wonderful experience when we were allowed to enter the castle grounds and meander about at our own pace…

Earl Moore Photography
Castello di Brolio, inside the main walls, Tuscany, Italy

…for us it certainly beat walking through darkened rooms listening to a memorized rendition of each room’s history and then being rushed through a portion of the grounds. At least that’s what I imagined it to be like on the tour.

Earl Moore Photography
Beyond the walls, Castello di Brolio, Tuscany, Italy

We wandered completely around the parameters of the main outside walls. These main walls were easily 40-50 feet high, or more, and at one time was surrounded by a moat with a drawbridge at the main gate/entrance.

Earl Moore Photography
Gardens inside the main walls, Castello di Brolio, Tuscany, Italy

The inside of the walls were mostly filled with dirt so that ground level inside was in many cases almost level with the tops of the main walls.

Earl Moore Photography
Atop the main walls, Castello di Brolio, Tuscany, Italy

Inside there were other massive buildings and structures with what could probably become a secondary wall defense.

Earl Moore Photography
Gardens and vineyards outside the walls, Castello di Brolio, Tuscany, Italy

There are paths and walkways along the outer parameter of the main walls which can be  walked and guard towers in some corners.  However, during our self-tour we didn’t see a soul–nice!

Earl Moore Photography
Guard tower on the main wall, Castello di Brolio, Tuscany, Italy
Earl Moore Photography
Walkway, main wall, Castello di Brolio, Tuscany, Italy

You’ll notice the smoke in the western sky in some of these photos.  There was a fire burning not too far to the west of us.  It may have been some type of controlled burn but it did provide a smokey filter to the evening sun for a while.

Earl Moore Photography
Dinner in the forest, near Castello di Brolio, Tuscany, Italy

Dinner was only a short drive down the hillside and turned out to be a unique setting  under tents within the forest.  A sampling of Tuscany cuisine and wine was served as the sun set through the trees.

Earl Moore Photography
Sunset through the forest, near Castello di Brolio, Tuscany, Italy

This was our last night in Tuscany and the next morning we set off west for La Specia and the Cinque Terra coast.  If you’re thinking I probably took some photos there too, you’d be right. :-)

 

What Others Are Saying

  1. Monte Stevens 4 Aug ’12 at 11:39 am

    I like how things work out in unexpected ways and delight us. Again, I can see why you guys enjoyed this vacation. Just a bit envious at this end. :-)
    Monte Stevens recently posted… An Afternoon at Riverbend Ponds

    • Earl 5 Aug ’12 at 12:13 pm

      This was probably a once in a lifetime trip for us and I have to admit I wasn’t very enthused about it at first. However, I’m so glad Bonnie kept pushing it…she was right…and I’ll never hear the end of it. But, that’s ok! :-)

  2. ken bello 4 Aug ’12 at 10:29 pm

    The bit of smoke did provide a lovely light in the background on some of these shots. You might have missed some shots if you were in the formal tour. Lucky break!
    ken bello recently posted… Rattlesnake Pete

    • Earl 5 Aug ’12 at 12:16 pm

      Ken, I know the formal tour spent most of their time inside the castle and didn’t have the opportunity to see the outside the way we did. Personally I’d rather have the outside free time even if we missed some the historical facts of the place.

  3. Mark 5 Aug ’12 at 12:06 pm

    Wow, such a cool place Earl. I really like castles, but have only seen some of them in Germany and the Czech Republic. All of these images have a very appealing warm light to them, nice work. I am also one to want to go it alone in my exploring versus a guided tour – ideally it would be to have both. The tours can bring a bit more information and history of what our are looking at, but don’t offer the freedom.

    BTW, I am looking at this on my iPad, and all of the images have the right side cut off by the confines of the space allowed for the post area.
    Mark recently posted… Accumulations of self

    • Earl 5 Aug ’12 at 12:20 pm

      Mark, thanks. Yes this was a very cool place! It would have been nice to seen some of the insides of the castle — from photos it looked impressive but given the choice we all were in agreement the free time outside was wonderful.

      I’ve seen that formatting issue with the photos on my iPad as well. It’s a problem with the theme as I’ve not modified. I’ll log a support issue on it. I appreciate you letting me know you’ve experienced it also.

  4. John - Visual Notebook 6 Aug ’12 at 5:13 pm

    I’ve really enjoyed your Italy trip Earl. Thanks for sharing! And getting away and not seeing anyone for a while on your own self-guided tour – well, that’s paradise!
    John – Visual Notebook recently posted… This and That

    • Earl 9 Aug ’12 at 8:30 pm

      Thanks, John…I agree, being able to roam at our own pace was a bit of paradise.

  5. Ove 9 Aug ’12 at 3:57 pm

    I have been looking through your Italy images, and it’s clear you’ve had a wonderful time, being at all these fabulous places. I so envy you, I might even have to go there next year. :-)

    Lovely images! Really!
    Ove recently posted… What’s in the rain

    • Earl 9 Aug ’12 at 8:30 pm

      Ove, thanks…yes, I had a wonderful time. You would probably enjoy a visit there next year and I’m sure I’d enjoy seeing the wonderful photos you’d make.

  6. Jim 3 Jun ’13 at 7:38 am

    I’m glad to have found your review and photos of Castello di Brolio.
    How lucky to have a quiet stroll around the grounds!
    What is the name of the venue for your outdoor dinner? Was it a nice experience for you?
    We had looked at the Castle’s “Sunset tour” but read that the dinner was not a good experience.
    Grazie!

    • Earl 3 Jun ’13 at 11:56 am

      Hi Jim,
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Yes, it was a stroke of luck to be able to have the grounds to ourselves…sometimes it pays to be late. :-)

      Off the top of my head I don’t remember the venue name of the dinner but while we had better food else where in Italy we found it to be a nice relaxing experience sitting in the forest sipping wine with food while the sun’s final rays of the day filtered through the trees. Memories. :-)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>