Continuing the theme of abandoned castles and hamlets, is Vignale.
No completely deserted and in a terrible state, Vignale had 169 inhabitants in 1833. It dates back to around 1100 and at one time had its own castle complete with secret tunnel underground. The ruins of the castle, the water mill, and the hamlet complete with church; are located deep in the heart of the Selva di Camporena. The woods that link Montaione, Gambassi Terme, Sughera and Volterra. In 1161 the castle was located on the confines of the Pisan and Florentine territories, putting it in a precarious position war wise for a long time.
The hamlet was heavily bomed by Americans in the second world war, and subsequently abandoned. Left much the same as it was 70 years ago, the hamlet can only be reached on foot, horse or mountain bike. There is an eery sadness to the ruins,which one can imagine soldiers and merchants visiting hundreds of years before.
There is a local legend that there exists a secret chamber under this castle, which runs all the way up to the sparse ruins of the Camporena Castle a km up the hill. Of course legend has it that under here there are also buried treasures… just waiting for an intrepid adventurer to discover…