The crown of towers that encloses millennia of the Middle Ages
This place has always been a place of sieges and battles; the Castle and its surroundings have observed history as it unfolded and seen pilgrims pass through its gates. Here thousands of stories have been handed down for the whole family.
Monteriggioni is undoubtedly one of the most famous villages in Tuscany thanks to the impressive crown of medieval towers now fixed in popular imagination. If its historical and strategic role is well known along the Via Cassia and Via Francigena, on the other hand events of the surrounding area are perhaps not so well-known: many stories and activities to experience in and around the Castle!
Although Monteriggioni is supposed to have been inhabited by the Etruscans as early as the 8th century B.C., the proof of its construction is given between 1213 and 1219 A.D. by the Republic of Siena: the towers and the circular shape, as well as the elevated position, made the fortification a perfect defensive bastion against the incursions of the Florentine army, which was in fact repulsed here on numerous occasions until the 16th century, when the entire Sienese territory fell under the rule of Florence.
Today, visitors can still admire up to 14 towers along the walls, and it is not difficult to understand the astonishment that prompted Dante Alighieri to mention them, like giants, in his Divine Comedy (Inf., XXXI, vv. 40-44).
Not to be missed is the wall promenade on the ancient walls: walking along the old guard paths will give the sensation of going back in time, searching with the gaze, among the countryside and the vineyards, for the enemy army rushing to the assault. The museum Monteriggioni in Arme with the faithful reproductions of armour, spears and swords, will no doubt capture the children's attention!
Recalling past centuries, medieval-themed festivals (among which Monteriggioni di Torri si Corona) enliven the city walls with colours, music, flags and sumptuous costumes, enchanting visitors to the rhythm of drums and the lights of sun and fire.
Not far from Monteriggioni Castle, there is a tiny hamlet not widely known: Abbadia a Isola. This small and splendid village was built around the Year 1000 near an abbey and a Benedictine monastery; the area, once lacustrine and marshy, created the impression that the village seemed to float on water: a fresco inside the church when entering bears witness to this.
A stretch of the ancient Via Francigena connects this little jewel to the Castle of Monteriggioni, in a simple route of about 4 km that is quite flat and also suitable for children, winding gently through the golden countryside and cool woods, until it reaches the 'towered crown' of Monteriggioni.
Recent times, however, have seen the surroundings of Monteriggioni as the scene of partisan struggles. Perhaps not many know that during World War II, a group of young members of the Resistance found refuge on nearby Montemaggio, in a peasant dwelling called Casa Giubileo. The partisans were found by enemy troops and the painful event went down in history as the Montemaggio Massacre; the famous Italian cartoonist Sergio Staino dedicated an album to this part of history (Montemaggio, a partisan story), helped in the reconstruction by the only survivor of the tragedy.
Casa Giubileo is now a visitor education centre, with equipped rooms and a small museum dedicated to the partisan resistance. Along the road leading to it, informative signs create a historical-naturalistic route through the woods of the Montagnola Senese as well as the history that came to life in these places.
Monteriggioni in Arme Museum
Via Francigena San Gimignano-Monteriggioni
Via Francigena Monteriggioni-Siena
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