Monteriggioni is a gorgeous small fortified town. Perfectly preserved it is located on a hilltop, at 200 m above the sea level. The citadel is situated in the north of the Sienna province, between the Chianti territory and the Elsa Valley.
The wholly walled medieval town comes from the beginning of the 13th century, when the government of Sienna ordered its construction as a military stronghold to be on the watch for the border line with Florence.
The circular fortified walls are further than 550 m, 20 m far above the ground with 14 heavily and high square turrets.
Dante Alighieri mentioned the turrets of Monteriggioni in the “Divina Commedia”, “Hell”, chant XXXI: “… as with circling round of turrets, Monteriggion crown his walls...”
Within the citadel there is a main street that gets along the two entryways: Porta Romea which conducted to Sienna and Porta San Giovanni which led to Florence.
Excluding some strengthen works carried on in the last years of the 13th century and in the second half of the 15th century, next to nothing has been done to the fortified walls or to the internal structures of the citadel. Therefore, maybe Monteriggioni is the top fortified town in Italy.
Uselessly contended by Florence and also by Volterra, the citadel remained into the territorial jurisdiction of Sienna until the second half of the 16th century.
In the 14th century Monteriggioni became a municipality in possession of its lawful statutes.
In 1554, the Florentines plotted the way to conquer the unbeatable citadel. The Republic of Sienna had designated Giovannino Zeti as ruler captain in Monteriggioni. Sienna trusted in him as he had been banished from Florence, but they did not know that in the same year Giovannino Zeti was reconciled with the Medici. So he gave the keys of the citadel to the Florentines and the Imperial army, conducted by the Marquis of Maragliano, laid siege to Monteriggioni as well as to the capital city of Sienna forcing them to submit to Florence.
Main monuments to visit:
- The medieval ring of fortified walls and the turrets.
- The Pieve of Santa Maria Assunta: located in the main square of the citadel, is a beautiful Romanesque church with some Gothic features. It has a single nave. The façade is made with travertine.
Where to eat:
“Il Pozzo”: an elegant and well-known restaurant. Its fine creative cuisine is based on ancient local receipts. Wine list is great. We suggest you to taste the excellent Castello di Monteriggioni wines.
- “Antico Traviglio Bar”: a genuine Tuscan wine bar which offers also traditional light meals like bruschetta, cold meat cuts, local cheeses and salads. Wine list is unbelievable and also the most expensive wines are available per glass. Home made ice-creams are delicious.
It has a charming garden for meals in season.
- The medieval festival “Monteriggioni circles itself of turrets”: is held on the first weekend of July. It is one of the most celebrated medieval parades in Italy. The citizens are dressed in medieval costumes: soldiers, noblemen, ladies, jugglers, minstrels, astrologers, craftsmen and peasants. They bring to mind the middle Ages way of life between numerous stands where people can taste ancient local dishes and the prestigious wines of Monteriggioni.
Main Towns of Chianti
Badia a Passignano,
Barberino val d' Elsa,
Castellina in Chianti,
Castello di Brolio,
Castello di Gabbiano,
Castello di Meleto,
Colle Val D' Elsa,
Greve in Chianti,
Mercatale Val di Pesa,
Panzano in Chianti,
Radda in Chianti,
Tavernelle Val di Pesa,
Badia a Coltibuono.
The Tuscany Travel Blog
If you have recently visited Tuscany or you would like to visit Tuscany we now offer the
Tuscany Travel Blog Here you have the opportunity to share your experience, request information or impressions to other customers, and also become an author of the Blog yourself!