Not so much a castle as an entire 13th century fortified hamlet, Gargonza was once a working farm where Dante Alighieri was a guest. Perched high above typical, unspoilt Tuscan landscape, it has been beautifully (but not overly) restored; the ancient walls encircle a cluster of buildings including a tower, a church and an octagonal well. Its uneven paved alleyways are traffic free, although you can drive in with your luggage.
The foresteria, or guest house, has seven fairly Spartan rooms rentable for a minimum of three days in high season. Twenty five self-catering apartments (named after past occupants) have recently been refurbished; these are let on a weekly basis and offer good value for groups of families. They are comfortable and mostly spacious, with new bathrooms, pretty co-ordinating fabrics, working fireplaces and cleverly concealed kitchen units. Note that housekeepng is only available on request.
Breakfast is served in the frantoio (the old olive press) which also houses a sitting room graced with the only TV on the premises. Just below the walls, a rustic restaurant serves excellent local specialities including homemade pici with duck sauce and superb Chainina beef. The addition of a pool, on a terrace bordered by rosemary hedges, is welcome.