Remnants of the Castle of Cintoia in Chianti, notably the main gateway
The first mention of a settlement at Cintoia dates back to the 11 C and is one of the earliest documented examples of a castle in Chianti, an area rich in castles. After the transformations of recent centuries, it is not easy to recognise the original structures, even for those accustomed to read the traces of the past in highly transformed contexts. The fact remains that Cintoia is still a pretty clear example of the topography of an early Tuscan castellated settlement, although there are only few traces of the walls.
Other structures were built on to those originally present, and are identifiable at times by characteristic architectural elements such as lintels supported by simple shelves or filaretto walls.
Some of the structures that are still partly visible today date back approximately to the 13 C, but the structure has very ancient origins. The highest part of the castle, now barely visible and not open to the pubic because it is a private house, consists of several buildings based on a solid outer walls which defended the top part of the castle.
At the end of the 11 C, Cintoia was home to a rural farm (curtis), property of the chapter of canons of the cathedral of Florence, and the first document attesting the existence of the castle dates back to 1040.
Later, under the watch tower, a village developed, first documented in at least 1153. This village was successively surrounded by a curtain wall of which meager traces remain, including a gateway that can be attributed to the 13 C, and within which was including the parish church.
At the foot of the castle there was most likely a road that connected the Upper Valdarno to the Greve Valley, and this was one of the reasons for the importance acquired by the village in the mid centuries of the Middle Ages. There might even have been a hospital inside the village.