Today Panzano appears as a typical hill town. The castle is the highest and the most ancient part of the town. Extensive parts of the walls surrounding the hill are still standing and their structure is very simple. A single gate, which may originally have had an outside gate of fortification, opens into a little square dominated by the castle keep. Outside the walls the town spreads out, divided by two streets departing from a little square and climbing up the hillside parallel to the castle.
Although the Panzano area was already inhabited in Etruscan times, the name “Panzano” was first mentioned only in the 12th century, in the document “Sancti Leolini sitam in Panzano”.
Not many traces of the castle’s tormented history have remained. In the mid-13th century, when the Florentine countryside was organized into leagues, Panzano was included in the Val di Greve League. After the Battle of Montaperti in 1260, the castle was plundered and two of its towers were destroyed by the victorious Ghibelline troops. During the war of 1397, pitting Florence against the Visconti family of Milan, Panzano was occupied and looted again by the troops of Alberico da Barbiano.
In 1478, Sienese troops and their allies invaded the Chianti area for the second time. On that occasion the Castle of Panzano served as a major defensive bastion for the Republic of Florence, developing into the seat of the Commissioner of the Republic.