Sammezzano Castle (Italy)
Tuscany See list of castles in Italia
Castle Sammezzano, surrounded by a large park is situated above the village of Holm.
He assumed the present form thanks to 'by Ferdinando Panciatichi Ximenes d'Aragona (born in Florence March 10, 1813 and died in Sammezzano October 18, 1897) who transformed and expanded the existing building in the period between 1843 and 1889 .
The history of the place, however, is much older: you can go back to Roman times and in the following centuries.
The great historian Davidsohn, in his "History of Florence" states that in 780, the same Charlemagne return from Rome where he had himself baptized by the Pope's son, could be passed "
And the estate which is part Sammezzano then belonged to very important families: in particular Altoviti, then, at the behest of Duke Cosimo, Giovanni Jacopo de 'Medici, who in turn sold it to Sebastiano Ximenes.
These goods remained the Ximenes family of Aragon until the 'last heir, Ferdinand, who died in 1816.
In a cabreo of 1818 (before the amendments made by Ferdinand Panciatichi Ximenes d 'Aragona) drawn up by' Engineer Giuseppe Faldi the castle appears as a consistent structure volume, with ramparts and entrance staircase, the side opposite to that of the current access stairs and of which today there is no trace.
Then after a long process related to the will of Ferdinando Ximenes, the goods, the name, the coat of arms and titles of Ximenes family d 'Aragon, he went to his sister Vittoria firstborn, wife of Nicholas Panciatichi:' our 'Ferdinand Panciatichi Ximenes d'Aragona, in fact, that it became the sole heir of the Panciatichi and Ximenes, including the vast estate Sammezzano.
In the wake of current cultural called "Orientalism" which spread across Europe from 'beginning of the' nineteenth century, and he saw in Florence, one of the main centers, Ferdinand began to change the existing structure and build new rooms: the entrance hall in in 1853, in 1862 the Hall of Stalactites, the Ballroom in 1867 to the central tower that takes carved date of 1889.
Ferdinand was a very active man, an expert in science, philanthropist, patron, collector, Verdi lover. He was part of many organizations: among them was a member of 'Georgofili Academy (1855), vice president of the Horticultural Society, Honorary Academician of the Academy of Fine arts and promoter for the monument to Dante Alighieri in Piazza Santa Croce, on the occasion of sixth centenary of the birth.
At the same time was very committed politician: liberal ideas and fierce anti-clerical, was a counselor in the Municipality of Reggello and Florence between 1859 and 1865, and the Compartimentale Council advisor (then Provincial Council) between 1860 and 1864. He was elected for two sometimes the Kingdom MEP between 1865 and 1867. in the same year, a few months after the election, resigned in protest against the law on 'ecclesiastical axis that did not respect what he had promised to his constituents.
He soon showed his disappointment as he was born Italy: this sentiment is expressed in a sentence in Latin of 1870 reported in the niche of the corridor of stalactites, which translated, he says: "I'm ashamed to say it, but it's true: l ' Italy is in the hands of thieves, collectors, prostitutes and brokers who control it and devour it. But not for this I grieve, but the fact that there we are well-deserved. "
About the castle was both owner and principal; without graduation, he was engineer, architect, geologist. This allowed him to think, plan, finance castle made on site and local labor most of the materials of which it is made.
At the same time, as an expert and passionate botanist, Ferdinand reorganized wide area surrounding the Castle, extended about 65 hectares, the so-called Historical Park. Around the ancient "ragnaia" formed by a high forest of oaks, he placed more than 130 rare and exotic plants that were to gradually introduce the visitor or the visitor to the wonders of the "Moorish" style of the Villa-castle.
The Castle and its Historical Park really constitute a "unique" place of great historical and architectural and environmental value. The Park contributes considerably with assets botanical invaluable formed not only by introduced tree species but also by the indigenous. Among the first the most known are undoubtedly the redwoods of California who have found in Sammezzano ideal conditions, as evidenced by the large size reached by these trees in just 150 years. Among these, the so-called "twin redwood" more than 50 meters high and with a circumference of 8.4 meters, which is part, among the monumental trees of Italy, the small circle of "150 trees of exceptional environmental value or monumental". Among the native species they are worth quoting several species of oaks: holm oak, common oak, turkey oak, downy oak and other rarities, the cork.
In the 70s the castle villa Sammezzano was converted into hotel and restaurant. This activity continued until the late 80s. After ups and downs, in the late '90s, the property passed to an Italian-British company with the intention of achieving an ambitious and complex plan of action to make it a tourist accommodation facility, in accordance with the master plan of the City of Reggello .
To mark the bicentenary of the birth of the Marquis Ferdinando Panciatichi Ximenes d'Aragona (1813-2013) was created on "FPXA Committee" that seeks to promote the study and knowledge of the castle and the park Sammezzano also through the complex history of the his "creator".
The castle is normally closed, but thanks to the availability of the property, a few times a year (usually May / June and October), the Committee, in collaboration with the local voluntary associations, organizes openings of the castle with guided tour.