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Sammezzano Castle

Sammezzano Castle is situated at the top of a hill overlooking The Mall at Leccio in Reggello, less than 30 miles from Florence. The castle belonged to important Florentine families including the Gualtierotti, the Altoviti and the Medici . In 1605, the Spanish Ximenes of Aragon family bought it from Giovanni Jacopo de’Medici. The brilliant mind of the last member of this family, Ferdinando (1813-1897), redesigned the castle between 1853 and 1889 turning it into the most incredible example of eclectic orientalist art in Italy. Ferdinando Panciatichi Ximenes d’Aragona was a politician, engineer, architect, botanist and a man with a passion for culture. Though he had never gone abroad, he created this magical residence, unique in all Europe.
No words can describe the beauty of this castle. Every room features a different style from Moorish to Arab, from Indian to Byzantine, in a blaze of colours and outstanding intricate designs.
Of particular note are the Peacock Hall with its unbelievable patterns, the White Hall with its mosaic tiled floors, the Hall of Mirrors, the Hall of Lilies, the Stalactites Room, the Lovers Room, and many more.
In the spaces between one room and the next, there are corners, hidden niches, stained glass windows, columns, arches, domes and many writings.
After the second World war, the castle was used as a luxury hotel until 1990, when it closed. In 1999, it was bought by an Anglo-Italian Company but nothing was done and the castle has been abandoned ever since.
The park of 450 acres surrounding the castle needs to be restored too. It is one of the largest in Tuscany and dates back in the mid-nineteenth century when it was created by Ferdinando from agricultural land around his property and a grove of oak trees. Like many gentleman botanists of his time, he planted numerous exotic trees, including sequoias. In fact, the park hosts the largest group of giant sequoias in Italy, in particular the famous Twin Sequoia (160 ft tall and 25 ft circumference). Unfortunately many of the original trees are no longer visible because only a small part of them have survived.

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Peacock Room
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The White Room

The Sammezzano castle was a magic location used for various International spots , for example Thierry Mugler’s parfume and for a lot of movies, the last of which was “Tale of tales” starring the famous American actor John Christopher Really and directed by Matteo Garrone.
In spite of the world fashion and movie interest, Sammezzano fate remains uncertain.
In the years, vandals and bad weather caused heavy damages to the structure.

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Sammezzano Castle

In consideration of this dramatic situation, some private citiziens gathered together and created “Save Sammezzano”, a popular movement trying to bring to the attention of corporations and people the Sammezzano artistic/architecture importance.
So it is vital not only to protect it but also to be opened to the public several times to admire its beauty
The last initiative of Save Sammezzano is to promote the castle in the “Heart places” in FAI (Italian habitat Fund) and Banca Intesa San Paolo, Tourin competition. If the castle wins, they could intervene with concrete helps.
For this reason, “Save Sammezzano” is asking everypne for voting the castle following on line or on paper procedures, visit the page http://www.savesammezzano.com/i-luoghi-del-cuore
Save Sammezzano hopes that many people will participate to this important initiative (free of charge) to reach those final results which would permit to save this monument belonging not to a Nation and its population only, but to whole humanity.

Francesco Esposito
Sammezzano Castle
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