In the heart of the “Montagnola Senese”, a hilly area that embellishes the hinterland of the province of Siena, stands a village that seems to have stopped in the time of fairy tales. Monteriggioni, a few houses surrounded by a circular wall dotted with watchtowers. From above it looks like a castle of enormous dimensions, instead it is one of the few remaining witnesses of the era of medieval fortified municipalities. Visiting it is like immersing yourself in a time and dimension created by the mind of an original artist!
Before 1200, on the hill where Monteriggioni stands today, there was a large Lombard farm which had fallen into ruin.
Restored by the noble Da Staggia family, it was requisitioned by the mayor of Siena in 1213 to transform it into a castle whose function was to protect the city from Florentine attacks.
In 1219 the castle of Monteriggioni was ready and operational.
The original fortification, obtained simply by closing the farm and the entire hill with mighty circular walls, proved to be so efficient that in the following centuries it was disputed by many lords.
Inside it grew a small town that has survived almost intact to this day. After passing from family to family until the 19th century, Monteriggioni became an independent municipality.
Monteriggioni still retains much of its medieval heritage, especially the churches, but of course the towers and walls.
Visitors can admire the panorama by walking on the walkways, at the top of the walls, along the entire perimeter of the fortification.
Those who instead want to experience the town from within will discover buildings such as the Mother Church of the Assunta, the Abbey of Saints Salvatore and Cirino, Pieve Santa Maria di Castello, and many other chapels and churches scattered between the center and the districts nearby.
In the surroundings of Monteriggioni you can admire the castles of Castiglionalto, Castel Pietraio and La Chiocciola, still almost completely intact and original.
The original building is the Torre della Bonifica, a tower used in the past to access the backwater tunnels of the marsh.
Today it is blocked by debris and cannot be visited internally but its remains can be seen in the plain at the foot of the town.
All around the fields and paths of the Sienese countryside, timeless panoramas that also host the steps of the Via Francigena.
If you find yourself staying in Monteriggioni, or in its immediate surroundings, in addition to the many excursions to discover the area and its treasures, go and discover the excellent local gastronomy.
Oil, cheeses, cured meats and cereals are the products of the land around Monteriggioni.
Together they become delicious dishes that can be tasted in the trattorias and farmhouses in the area.
Farmhouses are often the best choice, excellent quality and prices accessible to all.
But some taverns also lend themselves to a perfect harmony between quality and price. Among many, the most recommended by travelers and enthusiasts are: Agriturismo Il Ciliegio, Osteria NonnAnna, La Bettola dei Vinandri, Le Torri, L’Antico Travaglio, Ristorante Il Feudo.
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