Travelling around Tuscan towns and villages is like a magical journey through the places described in tales. One of them is Monteriggioni that is seen going from Florence to Siena. This village, located on a hill near a highway, has been known since the early 8th century BC. Its vicinities are full of little-known but worthwhile attractions – castles, churches, villas, medieval villages. And Monteriggioni is like a pearl, which simply cannot be ignored!
The plan and major elements of the current village Monteriggioni have survived from the 13th century, when the Republic of Siena sought to strengthen its surroundings and established the outpost, which had to inform and protect against the danger from Florence. Thus, it is scarcely surprising that during the long centuries Monteriggioni withstood many attacks and sieges. But only after Florentines had captured the whole Tuscany, ordinary families with women and children moved into nearby village to live next to troops.
So what makes Monteriggioni so special? First of all, a high stone wall with 14 fortified towers, surrounding the hill top, leaves an indelible impression. Such quantity of towers caused surprise even in the Middle Ages (Dante mentioned them in his work). The length of the defensive wall is 570 m and it has two gates. The village, located behind the wall, is concentrated around a rectangular square, having its main attraction – the Church of St. Maria Assunta. The church, like most of other houses in the village, reminds of nothing else but the Middle Ages, and only a few narrow cobble stone streets leave a long-lasting feeling of comfort.
In Monteriggioni you have an opportunity to take a walk on defensive walls. You will not only go around the village, but also enjoy the surroundings. And in the local history museum you can see the reproductions of Medieval and Renaissance weapons, explore old war and siege strategies, and to get acquainted with the history of the village. Perhaps the most exciting thing is that visitors can try some of weapons and military gears.
The legendary pilgrim road Via Francigena from France to Rome also crossed Monteriggioni vicinities. The road is now marked as a pedestrian route and attracts a lot of travellers, who are eager to walk for at least a few kilometres and to feel like the old pilgrims and merchants.
Perhaps the most interesting event in Monteriggioni is an annual medieval festival ‘Monteriggioni di Torri si corona’ taking place in July. It is full of plays, music and medieval spirit. Each year the heads of the village try to recreate the authentic old village with soldiers, artisans, nobles and ordinary villagers, with acrobats, drummers and dancers. Medieval dishes are made in the streets and there is a variety of entertainment for little travellers.