It’s not our first time writing about this “Technicolor”- Moorish Revival castle in the middle of Italy. The Italian castle, Castle Di Sammezzano, is the dilapidated dream of Moorish Revival heaven, the jaw-dropping marvel, even though rejected by humans is not at all stripped from its overwhelming beauty. Hidden away in the rugged hills of Tuscany, Northern Italy, the eclectic wonder of a castle was built 400 years ago in 1605 at the behest of the Spanish nobleman Ximenes family of Aragon. However, some sources say this Moorish marvel has it roots even further in yore, back to the Roman Era.
Photos by Roman Roborek
The reason that made us write again about the abandoned oriental jewel is a very interesting campaign and project that we found around the internet. Roman Robroek, an experienced urban explorer, captured the Italian castle on camera two years ago and revealed the fact that although it’s often referred to as abandoned, there are in fact willful volunteers who take care of it. However, the volunteers who for years are trying to save what it’s left from the Moorish revival abode are afraid for its future as it currently put on sale. They are fearful that the historical building is going to end as another victim of capitalism, being converted into a luxury hotel or spa resort. Their current campaign entitled Save Sammezzano aims to protect the site from its likely commercial fate and instead to preserve it as a museum.
The history of the Castle Di Samezzano is as colorful as its opulent interior. Although its roots can be traced to the Roman Period, the oriental identity of the building is due to Ferdinando Panciatichi Ximenes d’Aragona, a man who dedicate 40 years of his life renovating and expanding the villa. Orientalism as a movement was popular at the beginning of the 18th Century around Europe, and it inspired Ferdinando to adorn the interior space with spectacular colors and patterns, intricate wall design and sumptuous sculptural ceilings.
The castle’s park, one of the largest of Tuscany, was built in the mid-nineteenth century by Ferdinand Panciatichi, exploiting agricultural land around his property and a forest of oaks. He had planted large amount of exotic tree species, like redwoods and other American resinous, while the architectural decoration was built in the Moorish style with elements such as a bridge, an artificial cave (with a statue of Venus), pools, fountains and other creations decorative tiles.
Since Ferdinando Panciatichi Ximenes d’Aragona had died, the castle has been on a constant “roller coaster” of being neglected and on auction to serve as a commercial site, which really is a shame. Save Sammezano campaign is an amazing effort to save the vibrant place and allow people to learn about Castle Di Samezzano. Check out their blog and learn a little bit more about their campaign.