A never-ending 'treasure hunt' between the Middle Ages and the Contemporary Era
A must-see destination to unveil with the whole family the two souls of Tuscany, amidst fortresses, graffiti and works of environmental art, till reaching an authentic medieval village.
Family trips often require destinations full of attractions and activities that can stimulate the little ones as well as adults. In Tuscany, and especially in the Val d'Elsa, Poggibonsi will delight the whole family with its many facets, which allow travelling through different historical eras up to contemporary times.
The discovery of the past starts with a visit to the Medici Fortress of Poggio Imperiale, commissioned by Lorenzo de' Medici and never completed. A small drawbridge allows the entrance to a vast open-air area from which it is also possible to access the Cassero, with its imposing bastions, and the archaeological area. An ideal place to stroll and, why not, perhaps stop for a nice picnic.
What will really capture the attention of children and transport adults back in time is the Archaeodrome. This is a faithful reproduction of a medieval village, where actors wearing historical dress will welcome visitors, ready to explain what the various structures were used for and how life in the village was conducted in the age of Charlemagne and throughout the Middle Ages. For those who wish to immerse entirely in another time, it is possible to take part in village activities, becoming part of a community that lived centuries ago, where even children can learn history by doing and having fun. At the end of the day, it will be possible to enjoy a faithfully reconstructed medieval dinner, without giving up the pleasure of good food!
The Rocca di Staggia, on the other hand, is suspended between two eras: in the nearby hamlet of Staggia Senese, the imposing 14th-century building can be visited inside and partly on the aerial walkway that once joined it to the village, and hosts permanent collections and contemporary art exhibitions, in a mixture of ancient and modern that envelops, in its Itineraries of Light, with a veil of magic.
Thanks to many contemporary and site-specific art projects, a simple stroll through Poggibonsi is transformed into an exciting 'treasure hunt' in search of works and murals. The seven statues part of the FAI project (Fondo Ambiente Italiano – the National trust of Italy) by Antony Gormley “Making Space, Taking Place” can be the occasion for a little family competition to see who is able to spot them all first: seven anthropomorphic sculptures, in pixel form, scattered around the town and intent on performing common actions in a daily mix with the inhabitants of Poggibonsi.
A hint: one of them is in a place mentioned just above.
Highly suggestive is the Fonte delle Fate (Fountain of Fairies), an ancient structure (as well as the only fountain to have survived to the present day) inside which artist Mimmo Paladino has placed statues of crocodiles and sleeping people, the 'Dormienti', which the water hides or reveals in relation to the rains and which, with their fairy-tale mystery, will fascinate even the youngest children.
Numerous graffiti are also scattered in the streets and on the buildings of Poggibonsi, such as the murals by Hyuro and Qbic, international artists whose works lead to reflections on the condition of women and on the knowledge handed down from generation to generation, respectively.
Once again, the urban and eco art of Poggibonsi offers food for thought and also opportunities to play thanks to which children will feel involved and stimulated to explore the place!
Experience Poggibonsi is an enveloping experience, embracing different eras and artistic languages, without neglecting the typical Tuscan cuisine, the beautiful surrounding countryside and the famous Via Francigena that characterise the Val d'Elsa.
Antony Gormley's sculptures
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