In Leonardo’s famous map RL 12278, the profile of Varna stands out along the Elsa, depicted as a fortified village surrounded by walls, the same form given to Catignano, Gambassi, and Castelnovo d'Elsa, castles that characterized the landscape of the hills on the right side of the Elsa. However, in the written sources, the locality of Varna is always defined as a villa, or an open settlement. The only reference to a fortified village existing in this place dates back to 1356, in a document drafted in the community of San Giovanni di Varna, near the locality of Castellare, a place that would bear witness to an old, disused fortification. Of the Varna towers depicted by Leonardo, we can perhaps now make out a trace near the villa Capei (locality Castello), where a brick tower is still standing, flanked by a curtain wall, probably dating to the Late Middle Ages. In this regard, it should be noted that in the early 14th century, the area of Varna was frequently crossed by militias engaged in the war against the Emperor Henry VII. In 1313, the Florentine troops in the area were ordered to destroy every isolated building (house, hut, or haystack), which might have served as a refuge for the enemy, with the exception of the villages of Varna, Gambassi, and Catignano. In this period the security of the rural population was entrusted to those few villages that, even if small, could offer some shelter, whether they were castles of ancient origin, such as Gambassi, or fortilitia, recently prepared in private residential complexes that had begun dotting the Florentine environs, as may have happened in Varna. The fortified houses of Varna, or in any case the defenses that had been built there during the 14th century, are maintained in the foreground on Leonardo’s drawing, with the intention of representing on that map the main fortified places of the Valdelsa, for strategic purposes. Among these he also inserted Varna, still well characterized, in the early 16th century, by those fortified houses that, a century and a half earlier, had ensured the sole manner of security for the rural population.