The Castles of Belcaro and Quattro Torri
Outside of Porta San Marco is the 12th century Castle of Belcaro, a building that has undergone a number of alterations over the centuries, the most important of which are by Baldassarre Peruzzi and Giuseppe Partini. Today the fortress is surrounded by grounds.
In 1525 the banker Crescenzo Turamini commissioned Baldassarre Peruzzi to draw up plans for a villa that was to stand over the ruins of the previously existing castle. Peruzzi was almost certainly also responsible for some of the fresco decorations within. When the castle-villa was captured by Cosimo de’ Medici in 1554 it was restored to its original function as a fortress. In the 19th century the building came into the hands of the Camaiori family, who had it restored in neo-Renaissance style by the architect Serafino Belli. In the second half of the 19th century Giuseppe Partini was commissioned to carry out further restorations, this time on the entrance portico and the perimeter walls.
Currently there are three open spaces composed of the gardens and two courtyards. The main entrance into the complex is through a large gate that leads into the first courtyard, triangular in shape. A second lower arch then leads into the internal courtyard, with the villa on the left and the servants quarters on the right. The villa itself is rectangular in shape, on three floors. The ground floor contains a number of arched entranceways.
Separated from the courtyard by an architectural backdrop in brick, with a central niche and round fountain flanked by two marble doorways with wrought iron gates, the garden is trapezoid in shape. Within the garden is the chapel and a frescoed loggia. A kitchen garden separates the garden from the secret garden laid out by Peruzzi.
The Castle of the Quattro Torri is at Santa Regina, in the outskirts of Siena. Its original structure, with the four towers that have given it its name, has remained unaltered since it was built between the 14th and 15th century. In 1376 the entire fortress passed into the hands of the Bichi family, who carried out improvements and restoration works into the mid-15th century.
The layout of the plan is square, in brick, with four angular towers of different sizes but all the same height. The entrance is through an acute archway. The interior courtyard is adorned on both sides by a portico, with a flight of steps leading to the upper floors. Toda the castle is still in private hands and is not open to the public.