The Ricasoli family is, to date, the oldest of all the families that made up the Florentine aristocracy and is one of the few still flourishing feudal origins. The earliest records relating to the Ricasoli date back to the beginning of the eleventh century and describe them as rich and powerful and for a long time lords of vast dominion. The Sienese tradition wants the Ricasoli of Salic origin and descended from a count Guinigi di Ranieri, baron franco, sent in 865 in Tuscany by Lodovico II and then made imperial count of the city and the territory of Siena.
But if the Counts of the Berardenga and other noble families of the ancient state of Siena descended undoubtedly, it was certainly not the Ricasoli because they had a progenitor not a Franc but a Longobard or Geremia son of Ildebrando as confirmed by a bull by Gregorio VII drawn up in Florence on December 28, 1076, in which, among other things, he speaks of it as a person who has long since passed away.
The pontiff confirmed with that parchment the possession of many goods enjoyed by the canons of the Florentine Chapter and among those many of them donated by Jeremiah including some churches, not a few courts and a castle included in the district of the parishes of San Giovanni Maggiore and San Cassiano in the Padule that extended from the yoke of the Mugello Alps up to the Sieve. It is interesting to note how the Ricasoli were first great landowners in Mugello before they were in Chianti.
Another source, this time inside the house, or Totto di Rinaldo dei Firidolfi, who wrote of his ancestors at the beginning of the fourteenth century, traditionally passed from father to son told that Jeremiah, married to a sterile woman and already very far over the years, despairing of having an heir, he dispose of most of his possessions to increase the cult and the decorum of the sixty churches and monasteries he had founded or sponsored. Mortagli then his wife, though old, married another that almost miraculously gave him a son: Ridolfo.
According to Totto, that Ridolfo was the Ridolfo, remembered as a witness to a placenta of 1029 he witnessed as one of the noblest barons of Tuscany. And it was from him that the family took the first patronymic and the whole of the coterie first called "de filiis Rodulphi" in the Latin cards and then vulgarized in "Firidolfi".
Due to the fact of being lords of land on the border with the Sienese possessions, the Florentine Republic began to snatch him with some particularly strategic castles as he did in 1182 with Montegrossi, today's town in the municipality of Gaiole in Chianti, and as if this were not enough at the outbreak of hostilities between Florence and Siena, since the Firidolfi were nominally feudal lords of Florence, their castles were repeatedly attacked by the Sienese as happened at the Castello di Brolio in 1252. So it was that at the end of the XIII century they decided to they moved to Florence.
The nobles of the countryside, especially in those centuries of barbarism, used to stay in their well-armed castles from which they went out to war against each other and to plunder the lands of their enemies, repelled from enclosing themselves in the city because, lord more powerful than them, he would have obliged them to be subject to his will rather than to the power of laws like other citizens [...] As citizens were looked upon with jealousy because they belonged to that most domineering portion of the ancient nobility with which the people were in constant struggle; nor was they allowed to sit in the judiciary until after the long struggle, the superior people were left without a restraining order against the magnates, who were no longer able to rise up. Humiliated by the proscriptions and by the most absolute indifference, some of the Ricasoli were then forced, to the point of other already powerful families, to descend to the cowardice to ask in favor of renouncing the name and the signs of the ancestors, to be removed from the rank of nobles and described among the commoners and peranco of being able to ascribe to the matriculation of some art . Precisely because of this they definitively changed their name from Firidolfi into Ricasoli, taking it back from the name of the castle of Ricasoli received in fief by Arrigo VI in 1187.
Their application for admission to the arts was accepted in 1393, but only after twenty years the Ricasoli could aspire to be appointed to the highest offices of the state, so much so that between 1393 and 1413 in the register of gonfaloniers of justice in Florence only Ricasoli, while thirteen of them are found in the registers of the priors of the arts. Ironically, one of the most powerful families in Tuscany, who had already extended his dominion over all of Chianti and much of the upper Valdarno, had to see his name written in the catalogs of wool and silk merchants, which the era was certainly not the highest aspiration for landowners.
Above all it was not for those who owned much of the Mugello since the tenth century and the whole province of Chianti up to the XI. In particular they belonged to Brolio, Cacchiano, Meleto, Panzano, Mello, Cavriglia, Vertine, Ama, Spaltenna, Montegonzi, Monticioni, Castelnuovo and S. Marcellino of Avane, Montaio, Montecastelli, Rendola, San Leolino, Rietine, San Polo, Monteficalli, Selvole, Lucignano, Gaiole, Castagnoli, Barbischio. Not to mention the aforementioned Ricasoli and, from 1197, also Moriano, San Martino, Stiella, Monteluco and Casale. More Campi e Tornano that had been granted to them as a fiefdom by Barbarossa in 1167, who had given them to Ranieri Firidolfi in reward for the loyalty and value with which he had served after confiscating them from their former owner because he had fought against him. But these places, partly located in Chianti, partly still in the upper valley of the Arno and in those of Greve, della Pesa and Sieve, gradually emerged from the family portfolio depending on the enlargement of the Republic of Florence.
However, the ambition to dominate, not yet muted by feudalism that fell into pieces and the birth of municipalities and states, continued to shake the soul of some Ricasoli so much that Bindaccio, defying directly Florence, had the courage to buy from the Pazzi and from the Guidi, in 1329, the seigniories of Rocca Guicciarda, Trappola, Sagena, Lanciolina and Poggio San Clemente. He held them all with tenacity and an iron hand, but as soon as he died, the lordship of Florence also made his own. However, at least in this case, Cosimo I returned them to the Ricasoli in 1564 to reward the faithful services given to him by some of the family during the war in Siena. The Ricasoli resumed possession and domination with the title of Baroni.
The Ricasoli are dedicated to viticulture since 1141, without interruption, fact that has been able to boast of the recognition of the fourth oldest family business in the world, the second in the viticulture sector. The production is labeled "Barone Ricasoli" and is dedicated to Chianti Classico. In total, around the area of Castello di Brolio, the family owns 240 hectares of vineyards, 26 of olive trees and employs 150 workers.