The Fortress of Poggio Imperiale

The Fortezza Medicea, called of “Poggio Imperiale”, was built along the Cassia route in Siena’s direction, between 1488 and 1511, projected by the famous architect Giuliano da Sangallo and commissioned by Lorenzo il Mgnifico to strenghten territorial defences.
This work remained incomplete, both because of Lorenzo’s death in 1492 and for the evolution of the conflict between Siena and Florence, and was preserved till now.
The building comprises two jointed structures, the wall circle and the fortress and its particular shape is important in the military architecture’s history. It’s characterized by a bastioned front (sections of walls from which massive towers protude), the absence of the patrol walkway and by the polygonal shape of the ramparts: this last feature represented an evolution for Sangallo, who abandoned circular shapes, used in Francione’s workshop, where he received his initial professional training.
From the original project, just one half of the wall circle had been realised and the structure has not a defined geometric model but it conforms to the ground, with an extension of 1 km.
Currently the building is made of brick and, on the western side, there’s the only entrance stone-built and equipped, initially, with a drawbridge. On the left side of the door there a tower made of stone, last ruin of the previous settlement on the hill, incorporated then in the defensive system.
Thanks to the restoration works, carried on between 2014 and 2015, the fortress appears in all its beauty: the five doors were recovered and a walkway has been placed along the whole lenght of the walls, from where is possible sightsee the surronding hills, San Gimignano’s medieval towers, San Lucchese’s church and the castels of Strozzavope and Badia.
Inside the fortress we can find one of the seven sculptures realised by Antony Gormley.