Sammezzano Castle is one of the most endangered monuments in Europe

Sammezzano Castle named among Europe's most endangered monuments.

The world-famous Sammezzano Castle, the grand eclectic-style residence located near Reggello (province of Florence) has joined the 2018 list of Europe ’s Most Endangered Monuments. That of Europe’s Most Endangered Monuments is a particular program curated by Europa Nostra, Europe’s leading cultural heritage organization, and is aimed at selecting the so-called 7 Most Endangered, the seven most endangered monuments, which since 2013 has identified seven sites to call on governments and communities to take action to safeguard them. The shortlist, released today, includes 12 monuments, and the seven “winners” will be announced on March 15.

The other sites are the historic center of Gjirokastra (Albania), the post-Byzantine churches of Voskopoja and Vithkuqi (Albania), the historic center of Vienna (Austria), the coal-processing factory in Beringen (Belgium), the Buzludzha monument (Bulgaria), the Chiatura cable car system (Georgia), the David Gareji monastic complex (Georgia), the Casino of Constanta (Romania), the prehistoric rock art sites of Cadiz province (Spain), the Greek orphanage of Prinkipo (Turkey), and the Grimsby Ice Factory (UK). These are sites endowed with extraordinary historical and cultural value but in danger due to neglect, inadequate development, lack of resources or lack of expertise, and degradation. “2018,” says Denis de Kergorlay, executive president of Europa Nostra, “is the year that celebrates the uniqueness of Europe’s cultural heritage and highlights its key role in promoting our common identity and building a more inclusive Europe. Raising awareness and mobilizing widespread efforts aimed at saving cultural sites at risk in Europe is another goal of the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018.”

“Saving these twelve sites,” continues Francisco de Paula Coelho, rector of the European Investment Bank (EIB) Institute, which organizes the program together with Europa Nostra, “will have positive impacts not only on historical and cultural heritage. The investments will generate socio-economic benefits at the local, regional and national levels. Properly targeted investments in cultural heritage pay off in terms of social, economic and cultural development, and it is crucial to spread this message during the 2018 European Year of Cultural Heritage.”

The Castle of Sammezzano, the main example of eclectic architecture in Europe and the only one in Tuscany, was completely transformed by Marquis Ferdinando Panciatichi Ximenes of Aragon in the 19th century: it was under him that the castle obtained its current appearance. The building consists of 65 rooms, including the 15 richly decorated rooms on the second floor, which have made Sammezzano Castle world-renowned. It is set in the context of a 160-hectare park that is also home to the largest number of giant sequoias in Italy (fifty-seven in all). After World War II, the castle became a luxury hotel, but for more than 25 years there has been no activity inside, and the site is in a state of substantial abandonment with several unresolved questions about its ownership. The castle has been nominated for the 7 Most Endangered program by the Italian Touring Club and the Save Sammezzano movement, which advocates for the monument to be protected and enhanced in the most appropriate ways. Information is available at

Image: the Sammezzano Castle Ballroom.

Sammezzano Castle is one of the most endangered monuments in Europe
Sammezzano Castle is one of the most endangered monuments in Europe

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