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Monteriggioni: Tuscany's Fortress in the Sky

Updated on March 12, 2017
bdegiulio profile image

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

Monteriggioni

Monteriggioni
Monteriggioni | Source

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 my 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.

Monteriggioni

Heading to Monteriggioni
Heading to Monteriggioni | Source
Entrance to Monteriggioni
Entrance to Monteriggioni | Source

Amazingly, one year later we found ourselves on the very same road and this time we made the right decision to exit and head on up the hill to see for ourselves.

Visiting Monteriggioni is a very different experience from visiting some it’s 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 fortress.

Fortress Wall and Tower

Fortress wall and tower
Fortress wall and tower | Source

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 hundred of year’s 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 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

Piazza Roma and Church of Santa Maria
Piazza Roma and Church of Santa Maria | Source

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.

Church of Santa Maria

Church of Santa Maria
Church of Santa Maria | Source
The altar of the Church of Santa Maria
The altar of the Church of Santa Maria | Source

There are really no other big attractions here in Monteriggioni, but that is 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 tuscan villages why not plan on spending a few hours off the beaten path in Monteriggioni. It’s rich history and beautifully preserved fortress wall and buildings will help you to visualize exactly how things must have been centuries ago.

Ciao for now.

Be sure and stop by one of the wine tasting rooms.
Be sure and stop by one of the wine tasting rooms. | Source
Take a seat next to the locals
Take a seat next to the locals | Source
show route and directions
A markerMonteriggioni, It -
53035 Monteriggioni Sienna, Italy
get directions

B markerSan Gimignano, IT -
San Gimignano Sienna, Italy
get directions

C markerSiena, IT -
53100 Sienna, Italy
get directions

© 2012 Bill De Giulio

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    • bdegiulio profile image
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      Bill De Giulio 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      You got it.

    • vox vocis profile image

      Jasmine 4 years ago

      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 :)

    • bdegiulio profile image
      Author

      Bill De Giulio 4 years ago from Massachusetts

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

    • vox vocis profile image

      Jasmine 4 years ago

      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.

    • bdegiulio profile image
      Author

      Bill De Giulio 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      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?

    • vox vocis profile image

      Jasmine 4 years ago

      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...

    • bdegiulio profile image
      Author

      Bill De Giulio 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      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.

    • vox vocis profile image

      Jasmine 4 years ago

      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!

    • bdegiulio profile image
      Author

      Bill De Giulio 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      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.

    • carter06 profile image

      Mary 4 years ago from Cronulla NSW

      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.

    • bdegiulio profile image
      Author

      Bill De Giulio 4 years ago from Massachusetts

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

    • daisynicolas profile image

      daisynicolas 4 years ago from Alaska

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

    • bdegiulio profile image
      Author

      Bill De Giulio 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      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.

    • sgbrown profile image

      Sheila Brown 4 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      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! :)

    • bdegiulio profile image
      Author

      Bill De Giulio 4 years ago from Massachusetts

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

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      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.

    • bdegiulio profile image
      Author

      Bill De Giulio 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      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 W profile image

      Peggy Woods 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

      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!

    • bdegiulio profile image
      Author

      Bill De Giulio 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      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.

    • American_Choices profile image

      American_Choices 4 years ago from USA

      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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