Monteriggioni stands on a hilltop surrounded by olive trees and vines. Its castle dates-back to the early 13th century; it was built by the Republic of Siena as a defensive outpost against Florence. The Medieval Town maintains its original architectural features and is unique among Tuscany’s borghi. The stone outer wall is 570 meters long and features 14 rectangular towers; they made a great impression on Dante Alighieri who defined them as giants in hell. Walking on top of the walls provides a spectacular view of the countryside, the Chianti region and the Elsa Valley.
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The Arms Museum houses faithful reproductions of medieval and renaissance weapons and armor as well as siege machines and techniques. Each room is devoted to a specific moment in Monteriggioni history. Visitors can wear the armor and handle the weapons.
The Church is located on the main square and is the best-preserved property in the borgo. Also built in the 13th century, it consists of a single interior space with a rectangular end. Its elegant façade displays a doorway with a stone arch topped by a round window while the renovated interior has plastered walls and domed vaults; the bell dates to 1299. The church is also home to a 17th century painting of the Madonna and Rosary which the town celebrates every year in October.
Porta Franca is the main entrance to the borgo; it stands below a tower with a pointed arch and facing towards Rome. In the past it likely had a drawbridge over a moat. To the left of the arch is an inscription commemorating the founding of Monteriggioni in the 1220s, while a plaque on the right celebrates the new Italian state in 1860.
Porta di Ponente is the gateway facing Florence. Some battlements incorporated in the walling above indicate that the defensive wall was probably lower. Similar battlements in the facing of the walls on the east side. To the right of the entrance, which used to have an outer protective wall, a plaque quotes lines from Dante that mention Monteriggioni.
In Medieval Times, on the southwest side of the outer walls, there was a third gateway, later walled in; the upper part is still visible from the outer road. In the 16th century, the base of the outer walls was reinforced with an earth rampart in response to the introduction of new and more powerful firearms.
A Medieval Travel Experience in Tuscany