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Monteriggioni, Siena

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Monteriggioni - Siena

Situated at the northern end of the region, Monteriggioni occupies the peak of a small, rolling hill covered with cultivated slopes, vineyards and olives.

The castle was founded in the second decade of the thirteenth century by the Republic of Siena, with the purpose of creating a defence outpost against its rival Florence. For centuries the settlement carried out the function for which it was created, repelling a multitude of sieges and attacks. Inhabited by soldiers and many civilian families, from the middle of the sixteenth century its military function ceased when the entire Sienese state, to which our village belonged, was annexed to the Florentine state.

Much of the XIII century structure remains which makes Monteriggioni utterly unique in the panorama of medieval Tuscan villages. Its more or less circular walls, which embrace the peak of the hill, are constructed over roughly 570 metres and crowned with fourteen towers that rise up from the external surface. Their majesty must have been so impressive in the Middle Ages that Dante used the turrets as the famous simile for the giants encircling the infernal abyss in his Divine Comedy “as with circling round of turrets / Monteriggion crowns his walls/ E’en thus the shore, encompassing the abyss/ was turreted with giants”.

The village sheltered within the walls can be accessed through two gates (a third has been constructed) and centres around a large rectangular square looked over by the parish of S. Maria Assunta. This building is the best example of the preservation of medieval features, even if in the entire area with its characteristic alley ways, there are many houses that exhibit their ancient origin.

Yearly the first weekend of July Monteriggioni celebrates ancient times with the Medieval Festival. Inside the castle you will find craftsmen and merchants stalls and shops, along with jesters, townsfolk and jugglers' shows, street artists and concerts with antique instruments.

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