For at least a thousand years, Campagnatico has surveyed the Maremma from her hilltop. Roman remains testify to her ancient roots, and Dante celebrated her when telling the history of the Aldobrandeschi family. Distinctly medieval in flavour, the town enjoys a strategic position, commanding a view over the sea, the Uccellina Park, and Monte Amiata and its neighbour mountains. The Aldobrandeschi, who hailed from Sovana, stamped their seal upon the town with a fortress, which then passed to the family of the Tolomei. It fell under the dominion of Siena, and in 1317 it was pledged to the Hospital of Santa Maria della Scala as guarantee of a loan, which was repaid a few years later. A rich, fertile area, it owes its health to Grand Duke Leopoldo II, who reclaimed it from the marshes that covered vast tracts of the Maremma.
Nothing that can be seen at Campagnatico would have been possible without the Aldobrandeschi. This aristocratic family ruled huge areas of the Maremma and around Monte Amiata during the medieval period, and it was they who shaped this town into the form that it retains today. The Aldobrandeschi Castle is the prime example of this. Its first stone was laid in the tenth century, and it was completed, fort, walls and all, in the centuries following. The walls are completely done in stone, and the windows, oddly, are all at different heights.
In the Divine Comedy, during his ascent with Virgil through Purgatory, Dante makes mention of the Aldobrandeschi, the lords of Campagnatico. The poet talks with various souls and, moved by pity, hopes that they be freed soon from the sins they committed. One of the souls he talks with is Omberto Aldobrandeschi, who announces himself as Dante's fellow Italian and the son of a great Tuscan, Guglielmo Aldobrandeschi. But, he adds, it was his noble lineage and the great achievements of his forefathers on which he prided himself in life, and for which he looked down on other men. In Purgatory, Omberto will expiate his sins for as long as it pleases God, as he did not expiate them on Earth.