MONTERIGGIONI GATE OF THE MIDDLE AGES

Monteriggioni gate of the Middle Ages. Monteriggioni is located at the southwestern end of the Chianti, in the heart of Tuscany, about 20 km from Siena, and is placed on top of a gentle hill surrounded by beautiful vineyards and olive groves. The castle of Monteriggioni was founded in the second decade of 1200 by the Republic of Siena, with the main aim of creating a defensive outpost against the rival Firenze. For centuries the castle well performed the function for which it was created, each time fighting back countless sieges and attacks. Its military function changed since the mid-1500s, when the entire Senese State, including Monteriggioni, was annexed to the State of Firenze.

Monteriggioni still retains much of the 13th century structures and is designed as a unique place in the panorama of medieval towns in Tuscany. The walls, made of stone, embraces the top of a hill with a linear development of about 570 meters. A visit to the walkways on the walls of the castle is absolutely not to miss, from the top of the defensive wall you can admire the beautiful surrounding countryside towards the Chianti and Val d'Elsa and enjoy an unusual view of the town. Fourteen towers protrude from the outer surface with a rectangular plan, while a 15th is placed against the inner part. Their grandeur had to be very significant in the Middle Ages, so much to suggest to Dante a famous simile with the Giants of the Hell of the Divine Comedy.

The Franca or Romea gate is the main entrance of the village, in the direction of Rome, it opens at the base of a tower with a large pointed arch. In the past, it was much likely equipped with a drawbridge, which was to fall on disappeared outer moat. On the gate left side is the inscription that recalls the foundation of Monteriggioni, while in the right a headstone marks the newborn Italian unitary state in 1860. The gate of Ponente, pointing instead towards Firenze, is situated on the side of a tower and consists of a simple semicircular arch. Some battlements built in the overhanging masonry indicate that, originally, the defensive wall was probably lower. To the right of the entrance a plaque lists the verses of Dante of the Divina Commedia where Monteriggioni is mentioned. On the southwest side of the walls of Monteriggioni in the Middle Ages a third gate, beyond the two still existing, was present. This gate was later walled up and today it is, in fact, called Porta Murata. The top is still visible, while the landfill that affects the lower part dates back probably to the 16th century. In this era, in fact, the basis of the defensive wall was entirely reinforced to cope with the advent of firearms.

The Pieve di Santa Maria Assunta, built in the 13th century and overlooking the main square, is the building of the village that best preserves the medieval characters. The facade of refined elegance, bears a beautiful portal with stone arch surmounted by a circular opening. The interior was renovated in the modern era and has plastered walls and vaults. In addition to a 1299 bell, the church houses a 17th-century painting of the Madonna del Rosario, to whom is dedicated in October a heartfelt local festival. The charming 13th-century village, which in July revives with a medieval feast, will throw you in a still extremely lively medieval past, which you can also experience thanks to the proximity of towns and villages of inestimable historical value, such as Siena, San Gimignano or the small villages of the not far Chianti.

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