Actually, it’s called Castelluccio (little castle), not that No Parking Picnic Castle is much more original, granted. Yet, that’s the name we gave it due to the quantity of “No Parking” signs everywhere. Good thing those, as they forced you to park out of sight around the corner. Thus improving the “Picnic”, added to the name simply because everyone was feeling quite peckish by that point in our day’s drive, and so picnic we did.
And good thing we did! Learned quite a bit (post-picnic of course, priorities being what they were) as we stretched our legs and admired the castle. As of the 20th century, it has been part of the La Foce / Origo holdings and one of many examples of their incredible life-long and ongoing Val d’Orcia restoration and improvement projects. (In fact, it is just 5 minutes from La Foce along the strada bianca – gravel road – shortcut that leads to Montichiello/Montepulciano.)
At different times from the 13th to the 19th centuries however, it belonged to Siena, and to a powerful religious “ospedale”, and to various noble families. And like any self-respecting Italian medieval-Renaissance-and-beyond castle, it saw all sorts of dramatic history involving dead husbands and spurned dukes, meek second husbands and pushy mother-in-laws, captains of the guard, poisons, daggers, betrayals and beheadings.
Verrryyyy quiet nowadays (at least from the outside, it’s private property so we did not venture inside). The only excitement was the arrival of one of the guides at La Foce (who lives in the castle) with a litter of newborn kittens she had found in a dumpster. (Her blatant violation of the No Parking rules were obviously waived given her heroic rescue of the furballs.) We almost left with a couple of them ourselves.
Fact is, neither Castelluccio nor No Parking Picnic Castle do it any justice. What really stays with you if you happen upon this spot are the truly incredible views.