OVER 500 YEARS OF HISTORY
Winemaking Roots Dating Back to 1480
In the land survey presented by Tommaso Soderini in 1464 to the ‘Officials’ of the Land Registry of the Republic of Florence, it was noted that wine and oil were the most highly prized produce of the estate. This is the official known beginning to the Castello di Gabbiano and Cavaliere d'Oro wine.
Unofficially, the construction of the cellars, whose vaulted structure demonstrates their use for wine production, implies that the castle's roots may have begun as early as 1124. At that time, the castle belonged to one of the most important banking families of Florence, the Bardi, who, in the second half of the thirteenth century, began the extension of the fortress by building perimeter walls and battlements in the typical Guelph style of the era. The castle remained in the possession of the Bardi until the early part of the 15th century, when it passed to the Soderini family, one of the most politically influential families in Florence.
It was Pier Soderini who was responsible for the conversion of the turreted manor house of Gabbiano in Fattoria, according to the description in the “land survey” presented in 1480. Over the course of the next century, new buildings were added, as can be deduced from the stonework, which reveals various phases of development. Eventually, it was converted into a large quadrilateral building, which also formed a kind of private fortress, with the French-influenced four cylindrical turrets reinforcing the corners.
When the Soderinis struggled against the Medici in the 16th century, they were declared rebels and banned from Florence. The Castle was abandoned for a long time. Only in the 17th century, when the Soderini were able to return to their homeland, was the Castle given new life. The inscription on a sandstone plaque over the entrance door reminds us of their history. Under the two Sorderini coats of arms, the following is inscribed: “FRANC. SODERINUS SENAT.GASP.F.RURIS HUIUS IN FAMIGLIA RESTITUTOR SUB.A MDCLII.” Above the coats of arms lies the motto that was dictated by Pier Soderini when he was elected Gonfalonier, or standard bearer, which reads, “IUS UT PALMA FLO” (“Iustus ut palma fl orebit”).
From the 19th century onwards, the families who owned the property carried out various restoration projects, all respecting the architectural history of the Castle. This includes the neo-classical style private chapel which was built in the 19th century under the ownership of the Del Turco family, according to an inscription inside the little church dating from the restoration works in 1957 by the Lemmi fmaily.