La Valdichiana

La Valdichiana

Storie dal Territorio della Valdichiana

Tag: castle

The village of Castelmuzio

Let’s continue our journey to discover the most interesting places of this territory, which can become a surprise and a destination for both tourists and residents of Valdichiana, which are…

Let’s continue our journey to discover the most interesting places of this territory, which can become a surprise and a destination for both tourists and residents of Valdichiana, which are chasing memories of the past. Our territory is rich in beautiful landscapes, villages and artworks, which have roots in history and they form a fixed point of reference for our future.

Among the most charming and interesting medieval villages that we can find within Valdichiana municipalities, there is definitely Castelmuzio, a part of the municipality of Trequanda. The origins of the village date back to the Etruscan Era, as proved by the discovery of the remains of a temple, dedicated to the Goddess Isis near the settlement, as well as tombs, urns and Etruscan inscriptions. To find official tracks of Castelmuzio, however, we must go beyond the year 1000 A.D.. In some documents of the 9th century of the Badia Amiatina of St. Salvatore (St. Salvatore’s Abbey), the place is called “Casale Mustia”, while it was called “Castello” (Castle) by its residents. In other documents, dating back to 1213 A.D., in the State Archive of Siena, it was appointed as “Castel-Mozzo“.

During the Middle Ages, Castelmuzio was owned by Messrs. Cacciaconti della Scialenga, former Lords of Montisi and owners of the farm of Fratta in Sinalunga. In 1270 A.D., the village passed to the Hospital of Santa Maria della Scala in Siena, whose coat of arms is still present in some farms in the surroundings; it was bought then by Andrea Piccolomini in 1470 A.D.; the domain broke in 1559 A.D. with the defeat of the Republic of Siena and it was annexed to the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, ruled by Medici. After the unification of Italy, Castelmuzio became definitively part of the municipality of Trequanda.

The hamlet of Castelmuzio was erected on the crest of a tuff hill, at the foot of Mount Lecceto. Its structure follows the model of the medieval fortified castle, surrounded by walls and ramparts to facilitate the defence of the inhabitants. At the entrance of the village, there is a monument to the fallen and the ancient stone on which St. Bernardino of Siena used to rest. Within the village, there are many notable historic buildings, such as Palazzo Fratini, which was the seat of the Court and the name of the place is probably due to this, to its cut off tower. On the main square there is the Spedale of St. John the Baptist as well, which used to offer accommodation and food to travellers and orphans, as well as provide a dowry for girls without assets, who wanted to get married. It’s worth mentioning also the Brotherhood of the Holy Trinity and St. Bernardino, founded in 1450 A.D., equipped with a small pharmacy and a hospice for pilgrims on the Via Francigena; the oratory and the Sienese church, dedicated to the Saint, host a Sacred Art Museum rich in valuable specimens.

Today Castelmuzio is a part of the comune of Trequanda, with less than 300 inhabitants. Situated near Petroio and Montisi, it is definitely a suggestive part of a visit through Valdorcia and Valdichiana and Val d’Asso.

Nessun commento su The village of Castelmuzio

The burg of Farnetella

The Valdichiana has large territorial municipalities with more than 10,000 inhabitants, but also some peculiar burgs that might go unnoticed by tourists or even by citizens themselves. In our journey…

The Valdichiana has large territorial municipalities with more than 10,000 inhabitants, but also some peculiar burgs that might go unnoticed by tourists or even by citizens themselves. In our journey through the places of interest of the Valdichiana, today it’s the turn of Farnetella, close to Sinalunga, Scrofiano, Rigomagno.

Farnetella is a small burg that still keeps the fascinating medieval features – and it’s 419 m above sea level. It is structured around a castle with four parallel burgs and four main streets – and it there are only 140 inhabitants. Around the village traces of the walls can be seen, as well as a semicircular defensive tower. Farnetella centre is San Giovanni Square (Piazza San Giovanni) and Farnia Square (Piazza Farnia). The English oak, a part of the Oaks family, is the symbol of the burg and it’s likely that this was the origin of the name of Farnetella.

Farnetella origins can be traced back to the 6th century. The first document dates back to 1175 A.D., with whom Siena ordered the Scialenga Counts to return Farnetella castle to the Barotti Counts – an evidence of the antiquity of the village, it’s probably earlier than Rigomagno. It was during that period, that the Valdichiana was affected by the splitting of great noble families and it was affected by the construction of many castles and residences, which can be traced back to the origin of Farnetella.

The Castle of Farnetella was built on a hill called Castelvecchio and it was a noble possession together with San Gimignanello, Montalceto and Castiglioni, near Rapolano; These lands were owned first by Barotti Family, later by Cacciaconti Family. In 1271 A.D. Farnetella was accused of treason by the Republic of Siena, for hosting some Ghibellines: according to the law, the castle was burned to the ground by the troops of Camollia. The pleas of innocence on the part of the inhabitants of Farnetella were so persistent that, in 1295 A.D., Siena allowed them to return to live in the reconstructed court a hundred meters further downstream.

The alleged treason was not the only dramatic moment for Farnetella: in 1324 A.D. the rebellious Guccio Tolomei sacked it and burned it down. The inhabitants were forced to rebuild the village and provide the burg with wider walls which allowed it to resist, in 1554 A.D., the assault by a contingent of Charles V’s army. Farnetella remained an independent municipality for a long time, but at the end of the 18th century it was annexed by the nearby municipality of Sinalunga.

The current appearance of Farnetella is due to Adolfo Ferrari, owner of the estate in the 19th century. In December 1889 began the construction of a large residential building for richer visitors – however, it remained incomplete; the Villa and the main body of the castle still characterize the appearance of the entire burg. There are still preserved frescoes, antique furniture and a wooden dining room inside of them, done by sculptor Giovanni Sammicheli.

For a list of owners and other historical curiosities, please visit Farnetella website.

2 commenti su The burg of Farnetella

The Fighine Castle in San Casciano

Our journey through the most interesting locations of Valdichiana goes on: the hidden pearls everyone should know about, that every tourist should visit! Today we’ll talk about the Fighine castle,…

Our journey through the most interesting locations of Valdichiana goes on: the hidden pearls everyone should know about, that every tourist should visit!

Today we’ll talk about the Fighine castle, in the municipality of San Casciano dei Bagni.

The Fighine castle overlooks its old town, which bears the same name. It sits on the top of a hill, on the boundary between Valdichiana and the Paglia valley, from which it is possible to admire both. To reach the castle, a visitor should exit route SS321 and follow a white road that runs in the proximity of Piazze, following the signs from Cetona or San Casciano dei Bagni. Because of its height of 650mt above sea level, Fighine holds a strategic position on the surrounding territory.

The origins of the castle lie in the medieval age: the first datas has been found in a document from 1058, related to the Pieve di Santa Maria de Fighine, among the properties of the noble longobard Gottifredo.

The first confirmed informations came from the Visconti family of Campiglia d’Orcia, at the time feudatory of San Casciano dei Bagni: emperor Frederick of Swabia granted Tancredi Visconti the ownership of the Fighine castle through an edict in 1266.

But Fighine’s history has been rich of highly charged moments, because of its strategic position on the limits of the senese Valdichiana. For at least two centuries, the castle was the target of disputes between the local aristocracy, captains of fortune and warlords who came from Cortona seeking for a base to their war operations.

The so longed peace came in Fighine in 1446, when its property passes to the Republic of Siena, and later to the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. The end of the wartime and long centuries of quiet caused the decay of Fighine’s strategic relevance, but at the same time they allowed its slow reconversion, leaving the medieval fortification purpose in the past.

fighine 1

The Fighine castle is, at the moment, a wonderful structure with a quadrangular base, delimited by four towers: the torre vecchia, the torre maestra, the torre mezza tonda and the torre saracinesca. The defense walls, spaced out by small round towes, start from the castle and surround the whole town. A section of the walls has been used as apse by the Church of St. Michael Archangel, in which are kept painting of saints belonging to the schools of Orvieto and Florence from 18th Century.

Walking around Fighine is like dipping into the past: ruins, war fortifications, balconies and defense towers. The war time is long forgotten and the castle stands now as a beautiful and suggestive touristic location.

The Fighine castle now serves mostly as a touristic attraction, and this allowed to reconvert part of it into accomodating structures, used both by foreigners and local people. The Church of St. Michael Archangel is used to celebrate weddings in the fascinating medieval frame of the town.

Nessun commento su The Fighine Castle in San Casciano

The Montepulciano Fortress

Welcome to the first piece of our new cultural section, “Tourism“, which will discover for you the many treasures hidden within our beautiful territory, the senese Valdichiana. Today’s article will…

Welcome to the first piece of our new cultural section, “Tourism“, which will discover for you the many treasures hidden within our beautiful territory, the senese Valdichiana.

Today’s article will be about the Montepulciano Fortress, the gorgeous structure that overlooks the town. From its windows it is possbile to admire the landscapes of Valdichiana and Valdorcia, even catching sight of the Trasimeno lake in Umbria.  The fortress has been used for the most diverse purposes trhoughout its long history, and its structure went through several architectural alterations according to the needs of each age.

The most ancient informations we have are from the 8th century and they talk about the Castrum Politianum, placed in a strategic location to defend the city and to control enemy activity in the surrounding valleys. It is very likely that, already before the Longobardic age, the castrum was used as part of the city fortification. A legend has it built on top of the ruins of a roman temple, probably devoted to Mercury or Janus, but there’s no official source to confirm this.

The actual structure of the fortress, similar to what we can see today, was only built in 1261. It was erected by the seneses after the Monteaperti victory against Florence, used as military outpost and repeatedly rebuilt for military necessity during the whole period that saw the cities of Siena and Firenze waging war at eachother. Its military function has slowly decayed after the 1614 earthquake and after the end of the war.

The 19th century restoration gave the fortress the appearance we can see today. By the end of  1800 it hosted the Stabilimento Bacologico of Francesco Saverio Melissari, who used the building to grow silkworms.

Fortezza-Montepulciano

In 1935 the property of the fortress went back to the municipality of Montepulciano, which decided to requalify the structure as a public school. For over sixty years, the fortress rooms housed the local gymnasium, attended by students of Valdichiana and Valdorcia.
When the highschool was moved to a new building, outside the historical center, the Montepulciano fortress changed its function once again. In virtue of its artistic and archaeological value, it is presently used as a cultural center: within its walls are hosted art exhibitions, conferences and advanced cultural initiatives, oriented to both the local population and the tourists.

Further and more recent restorations allowed the municipality to re-open of all the three internal floors, which have been modernized, strengthening the public cultural spaces and the accomodating opportunities.

Thanks to its location, its history and its value, the beautiful Fortress is quickly becoming the new main cultural center of Montepulciano.

For further informations, we recommend the book “Fortezza e Liceo Classico a Montepulciano”, Editori del Grifo, 1999.

For the ongoing cultural initiatives taking place in the fortress, we remind you of the Luci sul Lavoro festival and the art exhibition dedicated to the great metaphysics painter Giorgio de Chirico.

Nessun commento su The Montepulciano Fortress

Type on the field below and hit Enter/Return to search