Hamlet of Casteldelci

The Casteldelci Hamlet tells an ancient story that goes from prehistory to Dante’s Middle Ages.

But it is also a real "immersion" in nature and it is no coincidence that Casteldelci is also known as the "green sea", full of trails and mule tracks, which can be traveled on foot, on horseback or by mountain bike, offering an authentic Apennine landscape.

Dante used to walk along the streets of this small historic hamlet, when he was a guest of Uguccione della Faggiola during his sad exile; he gave hospitality to Dante Alighieri receiving in exchange, as Boccaccio affirms, the autographed text of the Inferno, in absolute homage.

Some historians and literary critics see in the figure of Uguccione the famous "Veltro" capable of unifying the fate of Italy, as Dante writes in the Canto of Inferno.

There are many things that a visitor must absolutely not miss during a visit to this splendid hamlet.

Bell tower

It dates back to 1100 with a defensive function, and it later became the bell tower of the nearby church of Saint Martin.

“St. Colarieti” House Museum “Uguccione della Faggiola”  Archaeological Museum

It is a cozy, typical sixteenth-century mountain home with a fireplace and an oven for bread, which collects, in a renovated museum layout, finds relating to local prehistory and protohistory as well as from the Roman and medieval ages.

What you must absolutely not miss during your visit.

A bit of history

The first documents that mention Casteldelci date back to the 12th century, with the definition of "Casale d'ilice", from the Latin Castrum Illicis, literally "fortification near the holm oaks".

But archeological finds from prehistoric times suggest that the hamlet has much older origins. From territorial identifications and excavations, the remains of Roman colonization are of great interest: settlements with farms, craft structures and necropolises.

Populated uninterruptedly in the various eras thanks to the presence of perennial springs, it reached its splendor during the Middle Ages, when its particular geographical location favored fortified settlements. Among these, those of the Signori della Faggiola deserve mention, the name of which is the same as the homonymous mountains their fortresses stood on, which, it is said, was due to the beech trees that still cover them today.

A special guest in this period was Dante Alighieri who, in these very places, found a refuge from his exile and a trusted friend to whom he could confide his sufferings.

Ghost and legends

In a place with such an ancient history, there were sure to be anecdotes and interesting facts.

In Monterotondo the healer of the queen

Monterotondo today is part of the area of Arezzo within the Municipality of Casteldelci. Here there still exists the house, a large building, where Nicola Gambetti was born, lived and was buried, a special man who everyone said possessed supernatural powers.

He was a very capable healer, wise and profound connoisseur of medicinal herbs; he was extremely experienced and had excellent success with the treatments he served.

These were qualities that led him to even be summoned by Queen Margherita of Savoy who was unable to give birth. The due date had passed and the prince had not been born, despite the fact that the court had consulted the greatest doctors. Only Nicola Gambetti succeeded; the queen gave birth without any problems and the prince was born perfectly healthy. After that, he was declared a doctor by royal decree.

His brother, whose name was Peppino Gambetti, also possessed powers, but in his case, it was an amazing force, also in this case powers that were of course considered supernatural. Many have handed down incredible stories about him, as his strength allowed him to uproot gigantic trees, lift and move enormous weights.


Uguccione della Faggiola and Dante

On Monte della Faggiola Nuova, in the municipality of Casteldelci, and proof of this has also come following recent archaeological excavations, there are the ruins of the castle of Captain Uguccione della Faggiola, a fourteenth-century lord of Casteldelci.

He was very important in his time. Suffice it to say that he was Podestà (Chief Magistrate) of Arezzo, Pisa, Lucca and vicar of Emperor Henry VII in Genoa. Dante stayed in his castle during his exile and their friendship was extremely important.

Along the access route there is The Source of the fever created from the tears of Uguccione's repentance, located along the road called "Dante's road". From the Senatello stream, in the Mulino del Rio area up to the historic center, where you come across a Tower that was part of the first and oldest castle of the seigneury, there is, instead, "Il Sentiero di Dante" (Dante’s Trail) which includes the beautiful medieval bridge with a single arch which is, after that of Tiberius, the oldest in the Valley.