History | Poppi | Terre degli Uffizi
Listed as one "Italy's most beautiful villages", Poppi, possibly the most emblematic township in the Casentino, sits on a hill from which a large part of the valley can be observed. Its origin is lost in the mists of time, but little historical information or surving traces have survived from earlier than the Middle Ages.
The Counts Guidi took possession of the territory of Poppi in 1191 and ruled for several centuries over this valley marked by constant border skirmishing among central Italy's potentates. Their rule came to end when they capitulated to the Republic of Florence after siding with the armies of Milan at the Battle of Anghiari in 1440. No sooner had Florence won that major battle than it laid siege to Poppi, forcing Count Francesco II to surrender and to go into exile.
The Guidi dynasty has left several glorious and lasting marks of its rule in Poppi and in the Casentino. In the 13th century it commissioned the restoration of the famous castle that it had chosen for its noble residence, with the tower which, together with the castle, has become the symbol of Poppi. Rumour has it that Arnolfo di Cambio took his inspiration from this very tower when building the tower of Palazzo Vecchio in Florence.
Dante stayed at the castle on several occasions while in exile, taking part in court life under the Counts Guidi and even serving on diplomatic missions for them. The poet is likely to have set out from here to discover the Casentino, which he mentions on more than one occasion in the Divine Comedy.
After building the castle, the Counts Guidi had the imposing circle of walls erected around the town, linking the castle to the Abbey of San Fedele.
Poppi still preserves many enchanting traces of its Tuscan medieval past, set in a broad valley whose landscape is forged by farming, its highest hills crowned by the forests of the Casentino.