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Castel San Niccolo

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About Castel San Niccolo

 

  Castel San Niccolo is a lovely commune located in the Province of Arezzo in the beautiful and sought-after region of Tuscany. The municipality of Castel San Niccolo enjoys a strategic positioning, being located about 35 km far northwest of Arezzo and about 40 km away east of Florence, above Strada in Casentino, on the right side of the Solano river. Located in the heart of Casentino valley, Castel San Niccolo includes several hamlets, among which Strada in Casentino is the greatest. The town is set at 348 meters above sea level and has approximatively 2859 inhabitants living in numerous medieval villages. 

 

History of Castel San Niccolo

 

  The origin of Castel San Niccolo is linked to the dominance of the Counts Guidi in the 13th century. Thus, the village was founded and developed in the 13th century around the castle of the Guidi, who controlled the castle until 1348, the year when the inhabitants of the village revolted against Galeotto Guidi. As a result, the territory was annexed to the dominion of the Florentine Republic. After the town was included in the Kingdom of Italy (1859), the town of Castel San Niccolò was annexed to the province of Arezzo. Castel San Niccolo came to its present territorial configuration in 1868, when the ancient villages of Caiano, Ristonchi, Battifolle and Vertelli were included in its territory.  
 

Major sights to visit in Castel San Niccolo

 
  The village of Castel San Niccolo is dominated by the picturesque Castle of the Conti Guidi. San Niccolo’ castle is located on the right bank of the Solona stream, tributary of the Arno, on a hill above the valley, enjoying great views on the ancient Borgo di Strada in Casentino. The Castle was first mentioned in historical documents in 1029 and it was considered one of the most powerful fortresses of the Guidi from Battifolle. The history of the castle is related with that of this great noble family. The castle was the property of Earls Guidi until 1348 – initially owned by the Count Guglielmo Novello in 1212 and later passed to his son, Galeoto, who promoted a tyranny and cruelty policy here. As a result, in 1349 the people of Castel S.Niccolo along with the inhabitants of the nearby castles, among which Montemignaio, revolted against the feudal power. Taking control over the castle, these were subdued by the Florentine Republic. It later became the seat of the Podesteria, called “Montagna Fiorentina”, born from the union with Montemignaio and Battifolle. Due to its positioning, the castle represented a major centre for the movements between the Arezzo’s Republic and the Republic of Florence. Around 1400 this historical edifice served as Mayor’s residence and was recently converted into a farmhouse. Although the internal arrangement of rooms was changed, it preserved the specific of the 18th century architecture.  By the late 60’s of the 20th century, the castle was purchased by Giovanni Biondi buyed, who restored the castle. Today what is left from the ancient castle are the clock tower and the bell which have been recently restored. The lower part of the castle, the stone bridge crosses the Solano torrent and preserves the original structure, after being restored, as it was destroyed in the last war. The castle includes three major elements: the gentleman's residence which is located at the highest pint, its lower part which is connected to a group of houses, including the village church. The village is surrounded by walls with a main gate, protected by a tower, known today as the Bell Tower. At the bottom of the hill, another group of buildings serving as “mercatale” (Market) can be found –from here the town of Strada in Casentino has developed. However, the most important element remains to be the “Palace”, which was used as residence of the Guidi family initially and the seat of the Florentine Podest┼Ľa further on. The palace boasts mullioned windows with two lights and a charming beautiful gothic portal. The castle is nowadays mostly intact, although the external walls have been ruined by time in the western part of the castle. As mentioned before, the castle has been transformed into a private residence that can be visited only by prior reservation.
 
  The town boasts a rich artistic and cultural patrimony. Among the other places of interest in Castel San Niccolo there are: Pieve di San Martino a Vado, which stands within a short distance from Strada. Pieve di San Martino a Vado dates from the 11th century and is one of the most important Romanesque churches of the Casentino area. It was erected assumingly by the Countess Matilda of Canossa. The church is a typical expression of the Romanesque nave, with two aisles divided into seven sections from six columns in sandstone. Each column is different from one another, with varied capitals made by Lombard and local stonemasons, with detailed floral decorations (XII century). The frescoes decorating the interior walls are from the Church of St. Nicholas. On the left wall near the entrance, an oil painting of the seventeenth century.attributed to S. Simon Stoch can be admired. It is also among the few Casentinesi church to have preserved the original facade. Also, you can also visit Cappella del Crocifisso, whose name originates from a Crucifix sided by the Virgin Mary and St. John and exhibited now here. This work of art dates from 1439 and is a fresco that was carried out by a prisoner using breadcrumbs, according to popular belief. Visitors can also take advantage of the many activities available in the immediate area. Among which the following: hiking in the area and rambling, horse riding, cycling along the peaceful roads and tracks,  Bird Watching or playing golf at a local course. 
 
  San Martino, celebrated on every November 11, is the patron saint of Castel San Niccolo.
 




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Castel San Niccolo - Pieve di San Martino a Vado
Castel San Niccolo - Pieve di San Martino a Vado

Castel San Niccolo - Pieve di San Martino a Vado
Castel San Niccolo - Pieve di San Martino a Vado

Castel San Niccolo - Pieve di San Martino a Vado
Castel San Niccolo - Pieve di San Martino a Vado

Castel San Niccolo - View of Castel San Niccolo
Castel San Niccolo - View of Castel San Niccolo

Castel San Niccolo - View of Castel San Niccolo
Castel San Niccolo - View of Castel San Niccolo

Castel San Niccolo - View of Castel San Niccolo
Castel San Niccolo - View of Castel San Niccolo

Castel San Niccolo - Overview
Castel San Niccolo - Overview

Castel San Niccolo - View of Castel San Niccolo
Castel San Niccolo - View of Castel San Niccolo

Castel San Niccolo - View of Castel San Niccolo
Castel San Niccolo - View of Castel San Niccolo

Castel San Niccolo - View of Castel San Niccolo
Castel San Niccolo - View of Castel San Niccolo

Castel San Niccolo - View of Castel San Niccolo
Castel San Niccolo - View of Castel San Niccolo

Castel San Niccolo - Castel San Niccolo
Castel San Niccolo - Castel San Niccolo