LUCIGNANO, UNIQUE MEDIEVAL TOWN PLANNING

Lucignano, unique medieval town planning. Lucignano, a small hamlet in southern Tuscany, is one of the most unique examples of medieval town planning. Its elliptic shape, in concentric rings, has been left intact by the passing of time. The actual Via Matteotti, with its residential buildings, represented the street of the rich, and the houses were home to the nobles of the time. Via Roma, also known as Via Corsica, facing north with smaller, poorly made buildings was inhabited by the lower classes. Lucignano was a strategically important place due its geographical position, situated in Valdichiana, on the road connecting Siena to Arezzo and at 414 mt above sea level. Between 1200 and 1500 Siena, Arezzo, Firenze and Perugia, all fought for control of the town. Probably the name Lucignano comes from a Roman “castrum” founded by the roman consul Licinio. The name was changed in Lucinianum by Lucio Silla, after his conquest in the 1st Century BC. But important archaeological findings in the area, suggest that the place was inhabited since Etruscan times.

The present shape of the town began around 1200. In the 16th Century the old castle at the top of the hill, became the seat for the religious and political power. During the domination by Siena (1300) the fortification works were completed, the perimeter walls and the three entrance gates were erected: Porta S. Giusto, Porta S. Giovanni and Porta Murata. Also the Rocca with its two towers was built. The Medici domination (1554) saw the realization of other important constructions such as Vasari’s Sanctuary of Madonna delle Querce (1568), the churches of Misericordia (1582) and the Collegiata (1594).

Today Lucignano offers the charming appeal of a quiet place which has kept its origin intact. The agricultural and artisan traditions are varied, from the extra virgin olive oil production to that of wine and honey, production and restoration of furniture, wood carvings and the highly valuable ceramic production.

Amongst the monuments to be visited, the church of San Francesco which is an articulated architectural complex, situated within the first line of city walls. One side is next to the Oratorio of Corpus Domini, the left side is near the monastery. The building of the church of San Francesco, and annexed convent, begun in 1248, inside the church frescoes of Siena school, such as the scenes depicting the life of San Francesco by Taddeo di Bartolo. The Museum, besides being an example of civic love for the town history, preserves a beautiful reliquary shaped as a tree, known as the Golden Tree. Each branch of the tree holds a pair of small boxes, once holding various relics. The Golden Tree is one of the few reliquaries of this sort remained intact.

Lastly the Santissima Annunziata Church which belongs to the Venerabile Confraternita di Misericordia di Lucignano. The altar is of golden, sculptured wood, in the large, central panel there is a Nativity by painter and architect Orazio Porta. There also are preserved two works in glazed terracotta, thought to be works of the Sansovino or produced by Andrea della Robbia.

Book a stay in Lucignano, you will experience old countryside habits together with Tuscan art and history.

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