At the beginning of the 15th century Castiglione della Pescaia fell under the control of
Florence and in 1446 it was occupied by Alfonso I of Aragon. Only in 1558 it became part of
the Duchy of Tuscany with Eleonora di Toledo who brought it as a endowment to Cosimo de’
Medici, buying it from Don Indico and Silvia Piccolomini d’Aragona. Palazzo Centurioni
became an important military and naval outpost on that part of the coast.
The Medici bought the feud of Castiglione della Pescaia from the Picccolomini family, and
Cosimo I’s wife, Eleonora di Toledo, signed a lease with the Prince of Piombino “super certa
portione Stagni seu Lacu (…) in loco castri Buriani et Abbatie de Fango”, i meaning with that
which was once called Lago Prile, today the Regional Reserve of Diaccia Botrona.
In 1559 they leased the lake and the fishing rights to Eleonora di Toledo, wife of Cosimo I de’ Medici, who at that time had come into possession of the feud of Castiglione della Pescaia.
The Badiola, which by now turned into a peninsula due to the swamping of the lake, formerly used as a seasonal fisherman’s settlement, became an important fish centre with the financial intervention promoted by the Medici family. It is probably to the Medici family that the construction of a building at the base of the hillock known as the “minister’s house”
should be attributed. Still visible today, although widely modified, this building was probably
supposed to be the tenants’ administration headquarters. Buildings for the horse shed, the
tavern and all the structures necessary for the storage and sale of fish were also built.
Castiglione depended directly on the Medici, as a private ducal domain, separated from the
State of Florence and Siena and under the direct dependence of the sovereign.
Within the ancient walls of the village stands still today Palazzo Centurioni. Built during the
Renaissance, it was the home of the Florentine Podestà and, under the Medici family,
became the centre of local administrative life.
The short route over the fortified fortresses, and the noble buildings, testimonies the Medici
dominion in the municipality of Castiglione della Pescaia. The route leads to Cecina, where
Duchess Eleonora di Toledo died of malaria, together with two of her children.
Eleonora is remembered for her astonishing beauty and innate grandeur, as can be seen
from her portraits, including the famous ones by the painter Agnolo Bronzino.
a cura di Olivia Bruschettini