The Poppiano Castle was an imposing medieval building with three rings of walls, built around the year 1000. It was used as a fortress for the external defense of Florence and, as testified by an inheritance document of 1199, it has belonged to the Guicciardini family for at least nine centuries. During this long period, it has been the center of many episodes linked to the history of Florence.
Among the most remarkable events, in 1369 John Hawkwood, the famous English Soldier of Fortune, who had just fought the battle of Fosso Armonico, near Cascina, set up his camp in the Poppiano Castle. The Castle was partially destroyed in 1529 during the siege of Florence, as mentioned by Francesco Guicciardini in his 'Memorie'.
Despite still showing its ancient magnificence, the structure of the castle, as we see it today, bears evident signs of the renovation that followed the destruction caused by an earthquake in 1812 and that was carried out on the basis of frescoes from other Guicciardini villas in Val di Pesa and Val d'Elsa, which depicted the original structure of the castle.
Since the 1200s, the Guicciardinis held a key position in the political, social, and economic life of Florence and in 1416 Piero Guicciardini was nominated "Count Palatine" by Emperor Sigismund of Luxemburg. The family actively participated in Florence's public life and gave the city 44 "priors", 16 "gonfaloniers of justice" and 12 senators. The most important personality of the family was Francesco, called the Historian (1483-1540). After having held relevant posts for the Medici family - ambassador in Spain, Governor of Modena and Reggio, Leader of the League of Cognac - he moved to Florence and Poppiano, where he wrote a part of his most famous book, "Historia d'Italia".