Castle on sale designed by Brunelleschi, expert says

Three popes stayed at the palace near Florence

(ANSA) - Rome, May 21 - The castle of Oliveto in Castelfiorentino, near Florence, which was designed by Filippo Brunelleschi, according to expert Massimo Ricci, is on sale, the Lionard Luxury real estate agency has announced.
    The real estate company's president, Dimitri Corti, explained: "It is one of the most prestigious properties we have ever had on sale".
    The castle has four angular towers and battlements, where it is possible to walk around the entire perimeter of the building.
    The castle is part of an estate that includes 25 farms, a village with an 18th-century villa and a chapel in the woods for a total of approximately 35,000 square meters of indoor space and 1,200 hectares of farmed land with vineyards, olive trees and woods.
    The castle was formerly owned by the noble Pucci family and hosted over the centuries prestigious guests including three popes: Leo X, Clement VII and Paul III Farnese.
    Other famous guests included Lorenzo de' Medici (Lorenzo the Magnificent), the Grand Duke of Tuscany Ferdinand III and King Vittorio Emanuele III.
    In 1944, it was used as the military command of General Mark Clark, a US army officer during World War II, during operations to free Italy.
    The construction of the castle dates back to 1424, when the Duomo of Florence was in its first phase of construction.
    Massimo Ricci, one of the top experts in Brunelleschi's architecture, believes the castle was build on a project by Brunelleschi, as he has claimed in a study published four years ago.
    According to Ricci, the great Renaissance architect was the only expert in military fortifications active at the time. Moreover the castle, which bears a striking resemblance to the Medici Villa La Petraia already attributed to Brunelleschi, was not made with stone but bricks - very innovative material which Brunelleschi was at the time using for the dome of Florence's Santa Maria del Fiore cathedral, better known as the Duomo.
    In addition, several buildings inside the fortification were built in perfect Brunelleschi style and no one at the time would have been able to copy him in such a manner, Ricci says.
    The definitive proof, according to the expert, is the strange gallery set over a system of half vaults that should have collapsed unless a great like Brunelleschi had designed it in one of his 'impossible' feats.
    Finally, the brother of the then-owner of the castle, Giovanni di Antonio Pucci, provided the lime and sand for the construction of the Duomo's Dome in a demonstration that direct contacts exited between the Pucci family and Brunelleschi, Ricci says.