Castello di Valli
The crumbling ruins of this castle, rows of square stone sitting on the top of a hill, are one of the few remaining relics of the 11th century anywhere near Follonica.
It’s located in the hinterlands north of the city.
It was built in the late 9th century as a summer residence for the Bishops of Lucca, but was later seized by the Abbey of Sestinga, followed by the Aldobrandeschi in the 12th century and the Pisani in the 13th century.
The castle then became part of the Principality of Piombino during the 14th century and remained that way until 1815, when the entire territory was annexed to the Grand Duchy of Tuscany.
While it might not seem indicative, this history says a lot about the castle. It is one of the few actual castles in the Maremma. The rest are fortresses. It was also pretty valuable thanks its to position in a beautiful and easily defensible section of the Maremman countryside, which is why all these rulers immediately took it for their own!
Today you can still see the castle’s proud walls and the ruins of what was once a tall watchtower.
Around the ruins of the tower are a series of well-preserved stone buildings, mostly rebuilt in Neo-medieval style on the remains of the original buildings.
The current facade dates back to the 11th century and I have no reason why the rulers who came after that left it so. Maybe they just really liked the original design.
Technically Castello di Valli is closed to the public, but you can still have a poke around if you feel so inclined.