Una casa vacanze nella maremma toscana Rotating Header Image

Belagaio castle

If you leave the village along ‘via Trento’, you find – before the cemetery, on your left hand – a white country road called “Belagaio Road”.

Belagaio is an ancient feudal castle in the middle of the wood, that was a property of various powerful families of the area: Aldobrandeschi family, S. Lorenzo al Lanzo Abbey, Ardengheschi family and, finally, Grottanelli family (*1).

Surely it was a strategic point in Farma valley, very important also for the numerous ironworks of the area. In 1800 it was changed by Grottanelli family in a farm-house but it still has the fascination of an old castle.

Actually Belagaio Castle is a farm of the State Forest Department and it is in the middle of a wildlife reserve (*2) which also houses an experimental and didactic pilot enterprise for the protection and the diffusion of Maremma horses.

Just under the castle there is an interesting cave (The Tomb); you may visit il only with an authorization of the forest guards and guided by a speleologist.

The road from Casal di Pari to Belagaio castle – about 8 kilometres – has a particular history: it was built in the fifthies with the money appropriated by the italian government to help unemployed people, very numerous in these little countries after the second world war.

It was not easy to obtain money from the Government. The budget to build Belagaio Road was obtained thanks to the efforts of the mayor and the deputy mayor of the municipal district of Civitella Paganico (Mr. Carlo Gremignani and Mr. Ulisse Rustichini respectively) and the cooperation of my father, Lidio Leoncini.

In those years the little farms managed by a single family were in decline; the same for the cutting of the trees, the charcoal manufacture (owing to a lower demand of this fuel) and for the mining (*3) of antimony, argentiferous lead and copper (mines were closed for exhausting).

A charcoal under construction        The coal shed

Between 1950 and 1960 many young people emigrated searching a work in the cities in which industry, building, tourism and many services were growing; some families preferred to move to a city also to make easier their children to attend higher studies; at Casal di Pari, in fact, there was only the primary school.

The workmen who built Belagaio Road lived at Casal di Pari, Pari and in the surrounding country-sides and they came to work by feet or by bicycle.

The road-bed was completely hand made; the only available “technologies” were hoes, picks, mallets, hand-carts and gunpowder to make the mines which served to explode the rocks hindering the layout or to get the stones for the road-bed.

Most of the workmen were illiterates and their day salary was a few coppers and foodstuffs (mostly “pasta” and honey). My father directed the road yard and paid the workmen; at the ground floor of my house there was the store of the foodstuffs.

Belagaio Road walks though a very nice wood, full of the typical plants of the area: maremma maquis (arbutus, broom …), oaks, ilexes, cork-oaks, ash-trees, hornbeams, beeches, yew-trees, chestnut-trees … There are also many pine-trees but these are not typical plants of the area: they were planted about sixty years ago, after a big fire which destroyed in 1944 a larg part of the wood between Roccastrada and Casal di Pari; it was made a reafforestation with pines for their quick growth. But pines spread too much and now the State Forest Department gives a money contribution to cut some pines and to take care of the typical plants of the area.

Once many trees were very important for the daily life of people and animals.

During the second world war people dried, roasted and powdered acorns to make a powder like “coffee”.

Oaks, holm oaks, and cork-oaks beared acorns for swine (and the swine meat was an important food).

 oak      holm   chestnu

 cork

For a very long time the chestnut tree was the life of many peasant families. The fruits were dried into drying rooms (you can see still in the wood some ruined drying rooms) and then were powdered in the mills. With the powdered chestnuts, in the winter, peasants prepared a dish called “polenta”. Chestnuts, like acorns, were also used to nourish the swine. Also its wood was very important to build houses and furnishing and for winter heating.

From the outer part of the trunk of cork-trees it was extracted the cork. The cork trade is still practised.

The broom – very plentyful in the woods surrounding the village – is a very important plant: it is used to make brooms (to day less than some years ago), fences, sheds … Its root, very nice and hard, is used to make pipes.

Near the village there is a briar pipes factory. This work, already present in the XIX century, was interrupted and only recently it began again.

In the wood you may find also the birch and the yew tree. In the wood there are also many wild animals: wild boars, roc-bucks, fallow-deer, hares, foxes … but it’s difficult to meet them by day. If you are lucky and you are able to walk very silently, you can meet them at dawn or at sunset, mostly near water-courses. Shootimg season is from september to february: they hunt hares, pheasants, wild boars …

You may find also very rare (and protected) animals: the otter, the marten, the bats, the polecat, the beech-marten, the wild cat, the fallow deer, the moufflon …

 owl

In Farma valley, near Belagaio castle, there is a little lake (Troscia pool) in which you may find the alpin triton. There are also many birds: the nuthatch, the tawny owl, the owlet, the owl, the hawk…

In autumn you can find in the wood many kinds of mushrooms: boletus, agarics, chanterelles …

From 1976 in the first week end of october at Casal di Pari there is the boletus feast.

 NOTES

(*1) The word “Belagaio” comes from the latin word “Pelagus”, the marsh once existing in the subsidence in front of the castle.

(*2) If you like to visit the castle you have to ask to the Forest Department (t. 0566 40019).

(*3) Casal di Pari is the native village of Aurelio Galleppini (Galep), the designer of Tex Willer. His family, in fact, moved from Romagna to Casal di Pari where his father, a minimg engineer, was the director of some mines.

16 Comments

  1. If you are going for most excellent contents like me,
    just visit this site daily since it presents quality contents,
    thanks

  2. Yes, you can get paid for doing surveys at home just like thousands of people
    have already discovered. However, you can also expect to spend a lot of time getting
    these companies set up and making sure that they are legit.
    Generally, the company that hires you to do the survey
    pays you through company check, but do make sure they have other options as well, such
    as Pay – Pal, Direct Deposit etc.

  3. Thanks for reading our Dead Island preview,
    and be sure to check back at Bright Hub for more in-depth coverage of Dead Island once it hits shelves and digital distribution services on September 6, 2011.

    Whether your kids are toddlers or teenagers, one Christmas classic is sure to please: The
    Nutcracker Ballet. The concert features local, regional,
    and national artists.

  4. ubisoft says:

    “Prince is extremely disappointed that the organizers, the Meridian Entertainment Group and the River Alexander Group. Richard Wagner, having written a blatantly hateful reference-book entitled ‘Jewishness in Music’(sic. ‘Hair vitamins, such as Viviscal, can aid those suffering from hair loss or thinning in achieving stronger, healthier hair.

  5. We have the lowest prices and the largest selection of seating for all Sports,
    Concerts, and Theater events. But its real rise in fame is attached to its choice for use in the recessional during
    the royal nuptials of Princess Victoria to Prince Frederick William on January 25, 1858.

    ‘Hair vitamins, such as Viviscal, can aid those
    suffering from hair loss or thinning in achieving stronger, healthier hair.

  6. It is near the Glacier National Park that it will be
    is easy for you to visit the park also. Richard Wagner, having written
    a blatantly hateful reference-book entitled ‘Jewishness in Music’(sic.
    This is a perfect place for families to have their vacations as
    this little island offers a lot of paved and gravel roads
    for the hikers to enjoy.

  7. Mammie says:

    Intellectually and morally, you people are no MATCH for me,
    at least not this side of the STAKE. You want to have the aura of
    professionalism, but you do not want to look like you are simply emulating everyone else.
    That’s an increase three times faster than has ever been seen in history.

  8. Hi there to every one, it’s actually a good for me to go to see this website, it includes important
    Information.

  9. You have reason for actuality an excellent site owner. Your website loading pace will be incredible. It kind of feels that you’ll be executing virtually any special technique. On top of that, The particular items are mona lisa telefoonhoesjes. you must have done an excellent job on this subject!

  10. Hi, I think your site might be having browser compatibility
    issues. When I look at your website in Opera, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer,
    it has some overlapping. I just wanted to give
    you a quick heads up! Other then that, awesome blog!

  11. The menu beneath gives you modifying as well as export alternatives such as trashing the card, discussing
    it, rotating it, and editing the details.

  12. Edison says:

    Thanks for a marvelous posting! I certainly enjoyed reading it, you can be a great author.I will always bookmark your blog and will
    eventually come back in the future. I want to encourage one to continue your great
    writing, have a nice weekend!

  13. There is definately a great deal to find out about this subject.
    I love all of the points you’ve made.

  14. Eloise says:

    La DHEA est arrivée en France en 2000 et a produit l’effet
    d’une véritable déferlante.

  15. Thomasen says:

    Incredibly individual pleasant website. Immense info available on few gos to.
    http://test2.com

  16. What’s up it’s me, I am also visiting this web page regularly, this web site
    is genuinely pleasant and the visitors are
    genuinely sharing good thoughts.

Leave a Reply