The drive through Tuscany to Poppi is delightful, especially in spring when everything is fresh and newly green.
We parked at the bottom of the hill, near a temple, and walked up to the town.
Poppi looks out over the Castentino Valley through a turreted palazzo architecturally similar to the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence. The Castello dei Conti Guidi is magnificently preserved and a delight to wander through.
The castle was built by Count Guidi, a family that dates back to the 10th century in the Tuscan area. Historians attribute the construction, or possible reconstruction to Conte di Battifolle in 1274.
The large tower, which was renovated in 1817, dominates the building. Towards the top of the tower there still remains traces of another structure which is thought to have originally supported the bells, which date from 1423 and 1722.
Once you enter the large door there is an open courtyard.
The castle opens into a large space with a long staircase from the 15th century leading to the upper floors.
On the second floor are frescoed walls and a beautifully decorated ceiling.
The views from the tower are most impressive, even through the netting.
Stern faced Dante makes a appearance in the grounds of the castle.
He had a few friends gathered around the day we were there.
The centre of Poppi is lovely, but practically deserted. The main street has some interesting houses, mostly shut up. I spoke to the woman in the newsagent, one of the very few open shops, and she told me most houses have been inherited and the owners live far away and only return for a week each year…what a waste!
We had lunch in a little deli in the main piazza…cheerfully prepared by the couple who owned it. We did see a couple of cafes open as we drove out, but there was not a lot of activity in Poppi.
Poppi is definitely worth a visit. The castle alone makes it interesting, but there would not be much to do in an overnight stay…we went on to Arezzo, which is fascinating…more on that later.