Built in the 11th century, Castello di Brolio was restructured by Bettino Ricasoli whom, in the second half of the 19th century, strove to make the Castle one of the best examples of the Sienese neo-Gothic style. There, Bettino Ricasoli (1809-1880) who was the protagonist of the Risorgimento aside Cavour and he twice held the position of Prime minister of the Kingdom, turned his attention especially to viticulture and wine production, experimenting continuously in the vineyards and cellars. Thanks to his research Chianti Classico was born, just as we know it today, produced with mostly Sangiovese grapes.
The keep of the Castle of Brolio houses the Ricasoli Collection with its unique and rare pieces that tell the history of this warrior family who had fought together with the Medici’s and then gave an important contribution to the unification of Italy.
The Ricasoli family residence is located beside the family chapel. Built with bricks and stone in Siena neo-Gothic style, it was renovated and in part reconstructed in 1860 by Baron Bettino Ricasoli under the direction of the architect Marchetti. The old castle keep with its crenelated towers can be seen behind.
The powerful defensive walls (50ft/14m high and 1500ft/450m in perimeter) that surround the castle like an irregular pentagon, allowed all sides of the castle to be defended. According to a study conducted by General Raffaele Cadorna, the fortifications of Brolio represent the earliest example of walls with bastions in Italy.
Right along the south side of the castle, Mounts Cetona and Radicofani can be admired and to the south the greater Mount Amiata. Towards the southwest the bell towers and other spires of Siena are visible, and further to the right the hills of Volterra; the Arbia river valley is also visible below.
The Castle is now the headquarters of a modern firm, with its cutting–edged cellars closed by.