Located in the midst of a sprawling wooded estate, the abandoned Sammezzano Castle occupies the same spot as a royal palazzo first established by a Spanish nobleman of the name Ximenes of Aragon The main building was built in 1605. It is designed in an eclectic Moorish style. When he moved, Ferdinando Ximenes Panciatichi, inherited the castle. He redesigned the Sammezzano Castle between 1853 and 1889. During this time King of Italy Umberto was hosted and stayed here in 1878.
Between 1842 and 1890, Ferdinando completely reshaped the medieval castle into an Orientalist palace in line with the fashion of the time, particularly in Florence. The result is a stunning mix of the Moorish with the Byzantine, the Indian with the Chinese. Using entirely local craftsmen, he had all the bricks, tiles, and friezes made under his supervision on site.
What happened with Sammezzano Castle
after the Second World War?
After the Second World War, Sammezzano Castle was used as a luxury hotel with apartments, spa, golf, and country club until its closure in the 1990s. The castle’s commercial turn thrived in the post-World War II era, but as revenues dwindled, the hotel was shuttered and subsequently abandoned.
In 1999 Sammezzano Castle was auctioned off and was bought by a British investor, and some stabilization and restoration work was done. It was then abandoned and closed to the public.
Only in 2012 did the FPXA committee (short for Ferdinand Panciatichi Ximenes d’Aragon) acquire the property, since which time they have sought to secure funds to properly restore the masterpiece.
There was a group dedicated to finding an owner who would restore and honor the castle. Appreciating the architecture and uniqueness, in 2018 a Dubai-based company placed an offer of $18.1 million on the third auction and became the current owner.
What makes Sammezzano Castle unique?
Sammezzano Castle is in the Moorish style, with intricate designs and a breathtaking assortment of patterns and colors. The castle has 365 rooms, one for every day of the year and each room has its own name and differs from the others. Within the abandoned castle, you can find the Peacock Room with incredible colors and geometries, the White Room with Moroccan mosaic tiled floors and wrought iron chandeliers hanging from the ceilings, the gallery between the Hall of Mirrors and the octagon of the Smoking Room, the Hall of Lilies, the Stalactites, the Lovers and also a small chapel.
In these spaces, there are hidden niches, corners, windows, columns, labyrinthine paths, capitals, arches, vaults, and domes. Above an archway stand out the words “Non Plus Ultra” (meaning “the highest point or culmination”), which in Greek Mythology was a warning that marked the edge of a flat world for explorers; perhaps communicating the architect’s vision to take visitors literally out of this world with jaw-dropping interiors.
Stunning Photos of Abandoned Sammezzano Castle
How To Get To the Abandoned Sammezzano Castle?
Less than 40 kilometres south of Central Florence, located in Leccio in the municipality of Reggello
- You can get to Reggello by Bus or Train. there is a direct bus departing from Firenze Montelungo and arriving at Leccio. Services depart six times a week and operate Monday to Saturday. These are the lines and routes that have stops nearby Bus: 350A, 360A, TMALL Train: R
- Or the nearest airport to Leccio is Florence (FLR). You can take a bus from Bologna (BLQ) to Leccio via Firenze Montelungo in around 3h 21m.
The amazing photos from in and around the incredible abandoned castle were taken by Mister Marat. Marat is a photographer who travels a lot and shares his captured moments with his followers. Also, Jacopo took a shot that is looking directly down on the Sammezzano Castle.