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Monteriggioni: Tuscany's Fortress in the Sky

Traveling has always been one of my passions. It exposes us to new cultures and experiences and makes the world a more tolerant place.

The Italian Fortress Between Two Cities

Most visitors to the Tuscany region of Italy will instinctively gravitate to the beautiful communities of San Gimignano and Siena. If you are traveling the road between these two Tuscan gems you may have seen this fortress-like village perched perfectly on a hill just off of the Via Cassia Nord (SR2). Located approximately fifteen kilometers to the northwest of Siena this quaint medieval community is often bypassed and overlooked as visitors rush to Siena and San Gimignano.

On our first visit to Tuscany, we did as most others often do. We looked, we saw, and we keep on driving on our way to Siena. We did, however, take note of what we thought must surely be a fortress perfectly preserved and situated to keep a watchful eye over the surrounding terrain.

Visiting Monteriggioni

As luck would have it, one year later we found ourselves on the very same road and this time we made the right decision to exit and head up the hill to see for ourselves what was behind those perfectly preserved medieval walls.

Visiting Monteriggioni is a very different experience from visiting some of its more touristy sister communities. Instead of searching for parking and fighting the crowds one only needs to pull into the dirt parking lot and follow the path up to one of the two entrances that take you into this medieval fortress.

Fortress wall and tower

Fortress wall and tower

Observing the Fortress Wall and Tower

Upon entering the walls of Monteriggioni one cannot help but be in awe of the fourteen towers that grace this extremely well-preserved fortress. Built in the early thirteenth century, these walls have withstood hundreds of years of war and the elements.

The exterior walls of Monteriggioni along with its buildings are considered to be some of the best-preserved in all of Italy and draw architects and historians from around the world to this peaceful community. The somewhat circular wall follows the natural shape of the landscape and measures 570 meters in length. Visitors can climb atop the wall in a couple of places for a dramatic view of the surrounding Tuscan countryside and the interior of the village.

Piazza Roma and Church of Santa Maria

Piazza Roma and Church of Santa Maria

Piazza Roma

Once inside Monteriggioni, you will immediately notice its simplicity. There is but one main road that connects the two gateways; Porta Romea (also known as Porta Franca) and Porta San Giovanni.

The main square is Piazza Roma and here sits the Church of Santa Maria. This Romanesque church dates back to the 13th century and dominates the Piazza Roma. There is also a small museum here in the main square that features various armor and arms from Monteriggioni’s rich history. For a unique experience try on some of the armor and feel what it was like to be a knight in shining armor.

Restaurants and Wine Tasting

There are really no other big attractions here in Monteriggioni, but that is certainly part of its charm and attraction. There are a number of restaurants, wine shops, and wine tasting rooms here that make for a great stroll around the Piazza Roma.

Probably the best thing one can do here—after sampling the local wine—is to find a nice cool shady spot and blend in with the locals. All it will take is a few well-placed Italian phrases and before you know it you’ll be conversing with the residents and who knows where that will take you.

If you’re looking for a break from the crowds that frequent some of the other more popular communities of Tuscany why not plan on spending a few hours off the beaten path in Monteriggioni. Its rich history and beautifully preserved fortress walls and buildings will help you to visualize exactly how things must have been centuries ago.

Ciao for now.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2012 Bill De Giulio

Comments

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on May 27, 2012:

You got it.

Jasmine on May 27, 2012:

There's a Scottish proverb saying "Were it not for hope the heart would break." A Latin proverb says "While I breathe, I hope." You're signed up for that coffee and a big Italian gelato! You must know what that means :)

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on May 27, 2012:

You make me laugh. We're all dreaming of living in Italy.

Jasmine on May 27, 2012:

Yes, it is. The flight lasts only an hour and a half and I usually buy the returning ticket at a cost of 70$ which is considered pretty cheap in Europe. I do travel a lot, but I'm dreaming of winning a lottery ticket so that I can move to Italy for good lol What can I say - sometimes it's really nice to daydream, and I'm hoping not be forced to stay in Germany all of my life. I don't think I could take it.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on May 27, 2012:

My mistake vox. At least you have family there to visit. And I'm sure Germany is beautiful also. Hopefully it's a quick trip from Germany to Italy so you can visit often?

Jasmine on May 27, 2012:

Unfortunately I don't live in Italy. I've been living in Germany for the past two years :( There are some nice places in Germany, too but the land can never be compared to Italy, nor the people. Sigh...

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on May 27, 2012:

Hi vox vocis. Thanks for reading. Luck you to be living in Italy. Rome is one of my most favorite cities in the world. You have a beautiful country. Have a great day.

Jasmine on May 27, 2012:

I've never been to Monteriggioni, but I'd love to visit the place. Your photo gallery is pretty inviting (love the "Entrance to Montereggioni" pic). Because of my family living in Lazio region, I always visit places around Rome and towards Neaples, but I'd love to go to Florence and other places in Toscana some day. Great hub!

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on May 27, 2012:

Hi Carter. Thanks for stopping by and reading. I too would love to be sitting somewhere in Tuscany right now soaking in the atmosphere. For now the pictures will have to do.... Many thanks for stopping by. Have a great day.

Mary from Cronulla NSW on May 27, 2012:

Love more of your picturesque Italian journeys...such great photos and info in your hubs...just want to be sitting under that idyllic Tuscan sun...again... Cheers.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on May 26, 2012:

Thanks Daisy. Appreciate the comments and thank you for reading.

daisynicolas from Alaska on May 26, 2012:

I find your adventures awesome! Your hub, as always, is very inviting.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on May 26, 2012:

Hi Sheila. Thanks so much for reading and the nice comments. I hope you make it to Italy some day soon. You'll love it. Have a great day.

Sheila Brown from Southern Oklahoma on May 26, 2012:

Wonderful hub!I would love to travel to Italy some day and this would definitely be a great place to see. Love your tour and your pictures! Voted up, useful,etc. Have a wonderful day! :)

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on May 26, 2012:

Thank You Alicia. Very much appreciate you visiting Monteriggioni with me. Hopefully some day you get to explore all of Tuscany.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on May 26, 2012:

Your photos are beautiful, bdegiulio! Monteriggioni looks like an interesting village to visit. I've never been to Tuscany, but if I do make it there some day I would love to explore Monteriggioni.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on May 26, 2012:

Thank You Peggy. Sooner or later I'll run out of places in Italy to write about but we are going back in September so maybe the beat will go on for awhile. You are correct in that Monteriggioni is just a great place to sit and relax for a few hours while soaking in the local atmosphere. A glass or two of the local wine makes it that much better. Thanks for reading and commenting.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on May 26, 2012:

Ahh...another wonderful hub from you about Italy. Monteriggioni looks like a charming place to spend a few hours or more soaking up the local atmosphere and perhaps a glass or two of the local wine. Thanks for this armchair journey. Many up votes + sharing!

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on May 26, 2012:

Thank You American Choices. Hopefully you get there soon. No matter where you go in Italy you are surrounded by beauty and history. Thanks for reading.

Ken Kline from USA on May 26, 2012:

Bdeguiulio,

Beautiful! Itay has been on our radar for some time now and this is a great tip for my trip. Thank you very much!

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