There isn't much left of the medieval castle of Castello di Buriano and, viewed from above from the neighbouring hill town of Vetulonia, its remaining external wall wouldn't probably entice you to make a special visit. But you should.
For the sheer silence that you will experience which, in the twentieth century world in which we live, is beyond the everyday experience of most of us unless we live in the most remote of places. A silence that fills you with ease. The kind that makes your shoulders relax and your face smile.
And this palpable silence is despite the fact that Buriano castle is part of a rural hill top village in Maremma in which the majority of the houses and apartments are still fully occupied and lived in. United by a common bedrock that juts into the houses and castle floor, and forms the walls of the streets and alleys.
If not for that, then for the 360 degree view: panoramic hardly conveys the sheer sense of space and beauty of "la Maremma" laid out before you. From the cultivated river plain that separates Buriano from the hill top town and hamlet of Montepescali and Sticciano, to the wooded hills between it and Castiglione della Pescaia and the famous Vetulonia with its Etruscan tombs. A land that was once the ancient Prile lagoon, spanning a vast area between the Etruscan city settlements of Vetulonia to Roselle.
Note: We have a lot of hill top hamlets, villages and towns in Maremma - scarcely a hill is without one and we have a lot of those - that you could do a fantastic join the dots design by jumping from one to another! And those hills that don't have a village on top have one buried underneath! This is a magical land :)
Space, natural silence and sheer landscape beauty...
Once known as the "Rocca Aldobrandesca", today its grassy inner courtyard and walls are lit at sundown and are a place to gather, play and chat.
And beneath its external walls there is a small children's playground and a covered shady "logge", in which to take refuge from the rain or sun, or eat a picnic.
But be aware! A lion guards this castle and will give you the evil eye should you approach: proud, defiant and questioning your motive for being there! Once he had stared me out he took off before I could get a decent shot of him!
Take a walk down from inside the castle to the playground and you will be treated to a view of everyday life in rural Maremma Italy. Peaks into the tiny allotments that line the pathway, each crammed with fruit and vegetables, spiky green cacti and some stray wild bright pillar box red poppies.
No doubt the inhabitants of this castle in the middle ages probably felt very differently about their circumstances and isolation than I did visiting on a warm afternoon in early summer. But who were they?
The first records of this Tuscany castle date back to the year 973 and tell of its ownership and occupation by the powerful nobility in Maremma, the Aldobrandeschi family, and sale to the monks of the Abbazia of San Salvatore in Monte Amiata.
But the Aldobrandeschi were back around thirty years later and continued in earnest fortifying the site, changing it from a fortress into a castle with inner courtyard and accommodation.
It appears that by the time of the eleventh century they became tired of living there or, more probably, had built or acquired bigger and better castles to move into in Maremma, and so gave the rights to occupy and enjoy this castle's lands to their friends the local Lambardi family (also not without some wealth of their own).
Then in the year 1332, like other nobility before and after in Maremma's history, the Lambardi family were forced to succumb to the rule of the Republic of Siena and in this case, also forgoe all of their worldly possessions. Including the Castello di Buriano.
A few years later Siena traded the town and castle to the city of Pisa. Pisa also had its eyes firmly set on owning and controlling much of Maremma's metal riches and castles here often changed hands between Pisa, Siena or Firenze and back again!
In 1398 the castle became the property and home of the Appiano di Piombino family and in so being became part of the lands and properties of the Principality of Piombino, where it stayed for more than four hundred years.
In 1815, as part of the whole-scale divvying-up of southern Tuscany between the Pope and the "Granducato di Toscana", Buriano and its castle (what remained) became the property of the latter. And from that moment began its abandonment and the serious decline of its structure which had started late in the 18th century, to what is left today.
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