Poppi is definitely not one of Tuscany’s largest or most well known towns, but once visited it is unforgettable. Poppi has 6000 inhabitants, and since very few tourists find their way out here, the town is wonderfully unspoilt. In Poppi’s historical centre there are several restaurants, but if you need more choice, have a look in the new part of town (Ponte a Poppi) down the hill.
Take a trip round the rustic market on a Tuesday, or go for a walk in Poppi’s zoo, where you can admire all of Tuscany’s wildlife as well as endangered animals from the rest of Italy (and the rest of the world), such as for example, the white Sardinian Asinara Donkey, which is on the verge of extinction.
If you go to the town, you have to visit the majestic castle Castello di Poppi, also called Castello dei Conti Guidi after the aristocratic family who ruled the area for four centuries. Although the castle has seen many wars and battles, it has survived almost completely intact. The oldest part of the fortress is the ancient tower at the side of the entrance.
The tower’s upper part was turned into a bell tower in the 19th century, which is why the facade seems to be divided in two. On the right-hand side there are a lot of two-light windows, but on the left-hand side there are only two. The construction of the tower dates right back to the 8th or 9th century when the Lombards took control of Italy. On the ground floor are some rooms that were used for stables and storage. By the tower in the inner castle square there is a lovely staircase that was built in the 15th century and used to separate the castle dwellers onto different floors according to their rank. On the top floor there is a barrel-vaulted ceiling with frescos from the 13th and 14th century. The same colour combination and patterns were used again at the end of the 19th century on the castle walls. On the top floor there is also a huge reception room.