If you are in Tuscany, in the surroundings of Siena, one stop that is definitely worth a stop is the Castle of Monteriggioni. Nestled in the tranquility of the Sienese hills, Monteriggioni is one of the main Tuscan villages and every year attracts crowds of visitors from all over Europe, for its historical tradition and bucolic views.
Monteriggioni where it is located
Monteriggioni is located on the border between Val di Chiana and Val d’Orcia. It represented the Sienese garrison of the Via Francigena. A very rare example that has survived intact with its walls made up of 14 towers.
The fortress of Monteriggioni rises on a small hill from which it dominates the surrounding plains.
It was built by the Sienese between 1214 and 1219 and is the first example of the expansionist policy of the Republic of Siena, therefore it was at the centre of the clash with Florence, which tried to take possession of it in several moments.
In 1269 the battle of Colle also described by Dante in his Purgatorio
Visiting Monteriggioni – How to get there
This ancient fortified medieval village, crossed by the Via Francigena, can be reached by car via the Firenze-Siena motorway link road, exit Monteriggioni.
From the exit you can already see the castle with its towers, located on the top of a hill and a few hundred meters from the junction.
Once out of the highway and past the town of Monteriggioni, the village is just a few hundred meters away. In fact, shortly afterwards you will find a fork on the left with the sign for the Castle.
The junction is easily recognizable as it is located next to a large building, the middle schools.
Monteriggioni: Where to park
Parking spaces in the castle area are available for a fee. After taking the road indicated by the sign, you will find a large car park on the right. Although this does not happen often, if the first car park is full, you will find a second one. Don’t worry if the road sign says “street without background”, a little further on you will find the car park next to the Castle. The cost of parking is €3 per hour (it is charged from 8 am to 8 pm), so if you are going to spend the afternoon here, have some coins!
Monteriggioni: Historical centre – Piazza Roma
The city is accessible from two sides through the “Porta Fiorentina” facing north and the “Porta Franca or Romea” facing south. Once you have parked your car, you will find the main entrance: the majestic Porta Franca.
Crossed the threshold, after a few steps you will find yourself in the middle of the main square of the village, Piazza Roma, where on your right you can admire the church of S. Maria Assunta and, near it, gardens and vegetable gardens. In this large square you will also find trattorias and taverns where you can eat. From this main square there are some alleys where it is worth getting lost for a few dozen minutes! There is also a small green area where you can sit on the benches and rest for a while.
The walkway on the Walls of Monteriggioni
The castle is surrounded by a long walkway (for a fee) from which you can admire a magnificent and suggestive view. I highly recommend a walk on the walkway in the late afternoon as you can enjoy breathtaking sunsets over the Sienese hills.
The crown of Italy
The walls of the fortress of Monteriggioni with its walls rhythmically interspersed with watchtowers, are the representation of the Crown on the statue of turreted Italy.
Medieval Festival Monteriggioni: “Monteriggioni di torri si corona” (Monteriggioni of towers crowns itself)
The village always makes itself desirable in every season of the year, but there is a particular month in which it is absolutely worth visiting the Castle: July! The first two weekends of July the castle takes on a completely different aspect.
The medieval festival will in fact take you back in time with its dances, shows, Dante’s monologues, old inns and many banquets of craftsmen who sell all kinds of objects: leather, wood, iron, etc.. In addition, you will see many people dressed in period costumes as they strike the iron, or while they do other crafts or simply stroll through the alleys.
Enjoy the climate of the Middle Ages
In addition to the craft stands there are also refreshment points where you can eat and sip a good glass of wine.
Another aspect that will take you further into the medieval period is the currency exchange, which you will find at the entrance of the village: you will exchange euros in “grossi”, reproductions of ancient local coins, which you will use to pay whatever you want to buy inside the Castle.
To close the party there is a great fireworks display visible from Piazza Roma. The only flaw is the entrance fee, not exactly cheap, which is around €20 per person; despite this, it is absolutely worth it!