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Town Centre of Monteriggioni, Tuscany, Italy
Town Centre of Monteriggioni, Tuscany, Italy
Montereggioni, Tuscany

Monteriggioni

Cities and Towns in Tuscany

Sitting on a small natural hillock, this completely walled medieval town was built in the 13th century by the overlords of Siena to command the Cassia Road running through the Val d'Elsa and Val Staggia just to the west of Monteriggioni.
 
Except for some work done in the 16th century, very little work has been done to Monteriggioni's walls or buildings since they were first erected.  So, Monteriggioni's walls and the buildings that comprise the town within are the best preserved example of their kind in all of Italy, so it is not surprising that it attracts busses full  of tourists, but also architects, historians and archaeologists.
 
The town served as a defensive fortification that played a vital role in the on-going conflicts between Siena and Florence during the Middle Ages when Florence was driving hard to increase its territory.  Over the years, Monteriggioni successfully withstood many attacks from the Fiorentini and a few from forces under the command of the Bishop of Volterra which also asserted dominion over the area).
 
What Florence could not do by force, it ultimately achieved by guile.  The Sienese had placed control of the town's garrison in the hands of Giovannino Zeti, who had been exiled from Florence.  Reconciling with the Medicis in 1554, in what is known in Monteriggioni as the "great betrayal", he simply handed the keys of the town over to the Medicean forces.
 
The more or less circular walls with a total length of about 570 meters  were built between 1213 and 1219, following the natural contours of the hill.  There are fourteen towers on square bases set at equidistance, and two portals or gates.  One gate, the Porta Fiorentina opens toward Florence to the north, and the other, the Porta Romana, faces Rome to the south.  The main street within the walls connects the two gates in a more or less straight line.
 
The main piazza, the Piazza Roma, is dominated by a Romanesque church with a simple, plain facade.  Other houses, some in the Renaissance style, once owned by local nobles, gentry and wealthy merchants facing into the piazza.  Off the main piazza smaller streets give way to public gardens fronted by the other houses and small businesses of the town.  Back in more hostile times, these gardens provided vital sustenance when enemies gathered without.
 
The Tuscan poet Dante referred to Monterrigioni in the Divine Comedy: Inferno, xxxi. 41-44 '...come in su la cerchia londa Monteriggioni di torri si corona'.  Modern day artists are just as impressed: Monteriggioni, so evocative of the Medieval period, has been featured in a number of films and television commercials.
 
Modern visitors arriving at night will be amazed by the way the town seems to float above the valley because its hillside walls and towers are lit from below with a lovely golden light.

 

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Experience the Best of Chianti including the Antinori Wine Estate

To travel is to live! And this tour is definitely "to be lived". A perfect combination of food, art and culture. We leave Florence along the well known road ss 222, called the "wine road", to reach the little stone village Castello of Montefioralle, for a short walk on the circular main street and for a great view of the vineyards. Near here is where Giovanni da Verrazzano was born, the man who discovered the bay of New York. Afterwards we reach Greve, the main town of the Chianti Region for a short visit the nice square and the unique Falorni butcher with its incredible variety of pork and wild bore hams hanging from the ceiling. Let's think about lunch! At Fattoria Montagliari, mamma Bruna will cook for you her traditional Tuscan dishes in a relaxing outside terrace with wonderful view on the countryside

 

Privately Guided Tour through Tuscany: 2 nights - 3 days with Driver Guide

This tour through Tuscany from Rome is a perfect small group tour for those looking to get to Florence and en-rout enjoy the quaint and picturesque hill-top villages of Tuscany. It's not only one of our most convenient tours, but on which offers some of the most exquisite scenery in the entire country. While we visit many villages en-route, we take a slow pace through the countryside and in each of the towns where you will have ample time to enjoy the towns at a leisurely pace.

 

Private Tour with Expert Guide of the Chianti Vineyards and Wineries

To travel is to live! And this tour is definitely "to be lived". A perfect combination of food, art and culture. We leave Florence along the well known road ss 222, called the "wine road", to reach the little stone village Castello of Montefioralle, for a short walk on the circular main street and for a great view of the vineyards. Near here is where Giovanni da Verrazzano was born, the man who discovered the bay of New York. Afterwards we reach Greve, the main town of the Chianti Region for a short visit the nice square and the unique Falorni butcher with its incredible variety of pork and wild bore hams hanging from the ceiling. Let's think about lunch! At Fattoria Montagliari, mamma Bruna will cook for you her traditional Tuscan dishes in a relaxing outside terrace with wonderful view on the countryside