Visiting a castle is always a hit with kids, so make sure you stop at Brolio Castle while you’re in Chianti. The castle dates to the Middle Ages and has been owned by the Ricasoli family since 1141! Kids will enjoy exploring the outside grounds, the chapel, the crypt, and the gardens. The visit is self-guided, and if you’d like to see the small collection of armor inside the building, you can pay a supplement to get a quick tour of the armory. There are also other tours available if you’d like to go more in-depth or have questions answered by a guide.
Why Visit Brolio Castle?
Do your kids love knights or learning about battles in the Middle Ages? Have your little ones imagined themselves as kings or queens or defenders of a real castle? Are your children fans of traditional armor? Have you or your children ever wondered what a medieval castle looks like? Do you have an older child interested in wine production or wine history? Are you looking for a relaxing activity with something for all ages? If so, a stop at Brolio Castle is perfect for you!
Arriving at Brolio Castle
You’ll arrive at a strange 5-way intersection with the Ricasoli winery. Drive uphill through the gate. You can either park in the parking lot partway up on the left (close to the Osteria del Brolio) or continue all the way up to the castle parking lot (recommended). Park and walk 100 meters to the ticket office (biglietteria).
Current ticket prices and opening days and hours can be found on the Ricasoli website at www.ricasoli.com/en/. As of June 2021, the entrance to the Brolio castle grounds included a tasting of one wine at the Ricasoli winery and the main intersection. Don’t forget to get the pamphlet – it has a map and historical information about the castle.
Visiting the Castle
The castle visit is self-guided, so take your time. Our kids find the most interesting parts to be:
- Seeing where the archers could shoot arrows from the castle walls and where hot oil could be dropped below onto would-be intruders.
- Noticing the difference in colors of the castle. The red clay bricks of Siena contrast with the grey stone of Florence, just like the buildings in the respective cities.
- Peering into the family crypt from ground level.
- Entering the small chapel and admiring the beautiful mosaics behind the altar. If your kids have ever made their own mosaic, they know how time consuming they can be.
- Walking down the steps into the family crypt. We look for Baron Ricasoli, inventor of the Chianti wine recipe.
- Talking about what the iron rings are for. Some were used for tying up horses, and some also have a place to hold a torch.
- Searching for big bumblebees in the gardens, especially when lavender is blooming.
- Finding the marks in the building from the bombardments of World War II.
- Admiring the spectacular view of the vineyards and countryside from the large terrace.
- Walking on the castle walls and pretending to defend the castle.
After Visiting Brolio Castle
If you visit in the morning, you can eat lunch after the tour. Other options include tasting wines at the Ricasoli winery, stopping for a coffee at the café, or walking along the gravel roads around the property. Inside the ticket office is a small gift shop that children will enjoy visiting.
Eating at Brolio Castle
Osteria di Brolio
The Osteria offers a full menu for a sit-down lunch. It’s a great option because it’s shaded. If you know you’d like to eat here, it’s best to reserve ahead as it can get crowded, especially on weekends. There are gluten free pasta options available.
Picnic Lunch in the Vineyard
We like to pack a lunch and eat on the edge of the vineyard. You can park in two lots below the castle – instead of turning left to drive back down to the 5-way intersection, continue straight downhill on the gravel road. You will find two parking lots on your left. Park there and walk across the road to the vineyard to enjoy your lunch.
This café is worth a stop to see the décor of vintage bicycle gear, a telephone and more. Besides coffees, you can order light snacks like meat and cheese platters or sandwiches.
Wine Tasting at Brolio Castle
True, wine tasting isn’t an activity for children, but if you have a chance to stop into the winery, it’s worth a visit. After all, Barone Ricasoli invented the ‘recipe’ for Chianti wine (a mix of Sangiovese, Canaiolo, and Malvasia, although he didn’t specify today’s 70%/20%/10% standard)! Also, remember that your ticket to visit the Castello di Brolio grounds includes a taste of one of the wines in the Brolio Winery (Ricasoli 1141).
Brolio Castle Contact Information
Località Madonna a Brolio
53013 Gaiole In Chianti (SI), Italy
How can I get to Brolio castle?
The best way to reach Brolio castle is by car.
How far is it to drive from Gaiole to Brolio Castle?
Brolio castle is 11 kilometers from Gaiole in Chianti. Head south out of Gaiole on SP408, take a left on SP484, and at the strange 5-way intersection continue straight uphill through the entrance to the castle grounds.
Is someone living inside the castle?
Yes, the family still lives in part of the castle.
Is there a bathroom at the castle?
Yes, there is a toilet at the ticket office (biglietteria). There are also toilets at the Osteria, bar, and winery.
Are there other tours available at Castello di Brolio?
Yes, there are a variety of tours available. You can visit the castle, the winery, and the vineyard. The options are available on the Ricasoli Website.
Why are there so many cyclists around the castle?
The dirt roads around the property are part of the famous Eroica cycling event, which runs every fall, and many cyclists like to ride the route during other times of the year. The Eroica is marked with brown signs.
Is there a hotel on the Brolio grounds?
If you’d like to stay on the property, the Ricasoli estate has a villa for rent, Villa Agresto. You can also rent one of four rooms at Brolio Agriroom, located above the bar at the 5-way intersection. Both properties can be found on the Ricasoli website.