Declared a Natural Monument in 1993, the hill of Acquafredda, topped by the ruins of a medieval castle rises imposingly on the Cixerri Valley, in an area with varied animal and plant life and sweeping vistas. Tradition has it that the eerie Acquafredda Castle was built by the Gherardesca Counts, specifically by the infamous Ugolino, one of the damned souls in Dante’s “Inferno”. However, given the lack of clear documentary evidence, experts give the date of the castle at about the first half of the 13th century. Climbing up the hills, we encounter three levels of ruins in order: the village, the cistern tower and the actual castle. The village, set below the castle, comprised the servants’ and soldiers’ dwellings, stables and stores. The village was defended by a crenellated curtain wall, about some 80 m long, of which scant traces: the ruins of four towers and of the chemin de ronde. The village also had a cistern, built of bricks and with a barrel vault ceiling. Further up along the slope, at the second level, we come to the ruins of a cistern tower, also with barrel vault roof and divided into three separate tanks which could be completely filled with water.
To reach the Castle of Acquafredda, take SS 130 for 35 km. At the sign for Siliqua take SS 293. After 4 km you will reach the foot of the Acquafredda hill. A footpath up the hill will take you to the ruins of the castle.