Castel Tonini is the fortification that dominates and protected the ancient village of Buti and is still the gateway to the village. The castle underwent restoration in the early 20th century when Gothic mullioned windows with two lights stood out against its massive bulk. The ancient village still retains numerous streets and buildings that recall the ancient medieval atmosphere.
The medieval structure played an important strategic role between the 12th and 15th centuries during the wars between Lucca and Pisa and then Florence. At that time, together with Bientina and Vicopisano, Buti was at the centre of a fortified system of eight castles on the border between Pisa and Florence: Castel di Nocco, Castel Sant’Agata, Panicale, Castellarso (San Cassiano), San Lorenzo in Cintoia, San Giorgio, Farneta (Farneti).
From the 12th century, Castel Tonini was attacked several times and conquered by the Lucchese, then by the Pisans (who called it ‘Castrum Buiti’) and finally by the Florentines . For the Pisans it was of military and strategic importance and they wanted to fortify it to defend the Verruca Fortress between Calci and Vicopisano. In 1496 the Florentines invaded Buti and partially burnt this castle.
When Buti was no longer under Florentine rule, a renovation phase was begun according to the new Renaissance criteria. The Schiavini Cassi castle was built in 1628 by the Tonini family, and maintained its structure until the early 1900s when, following restoration, it took on the appearance of a typical medieval castle with towers, battlements and mullioned windows with two lights.
A recovery project in collaboration with the University of Pisa is underway