La Torre alle Tolfe traces its origin to a look-out tower (Torre) which today stands at the centre of the property. It dates back to 785BC when Charlemagne stopped in Siena on his third trip from France to Rome, on what is still a very popular pilgrimage route: the Via Francigena. The name “Le Tolfe” is likely to have come from “Tolfo dei Gricci”, the French knight who was responsible for building “a castle with a strong tower in the estates called Tolfe” at this time.
History is not only in the buildings, but also in the landscape of Tuscany. There are written records of vineyards in Le Tolfe dating back to 1316. During the 14th to 16th centuries, a period dominated by clashes between Florence and Siena, the strategic importance of tower of Le Tolfe may have once again played an important role, guarding against enemy forces. Unfortunately, it seems likely that during this time the tower was also badly damaged. Following Florence’s victory over the Sienese, and up until the mid-20th Century the remains of the tower became integrated into a hamlet of farming buildings on one side and a manor house on the other. At some point a community of sharecroppers became an integral part of the estate, working the land under the patronage of a wealthy landlord. These traditional farmers were still present and remained active alongside the Castelli family when they purchased the property in 1953. Some of the former sharecroppers still live locally and occasionally return to share fond memories of their time here.
Since the 1950s, the Villa and tower were sensitively restored by Luigi Castelli and his family. The tower has once again been freed from surrounding buildings and stands at the heart of the property. Restoration work continued under the guidance of Luigi’s son, Marco, with the development of apartments in the nearby agricultural buildings.
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