small village in the heart of Tuscany
Monteriggioni is located in the center of Tuscany, at the southwestern end of the Chianti region, rises on the so-called hill of Monte Ala and overlooks the Via Cassia-Francigena. Part of the so-called Montagnola Senese presents a very varied territory; around the relief of Montemaggio there are some small plains such as Pian del Lago and Pian del Casone, and the Canneto, alternating with a series of small valleys formed by streams and streams that characterize the central and eastern part of the territory. Monteriggioni is one of the most famous walled villages of Italy, famous all over the world, surrounded by a majestic city wall 570 meters long with a thickness of 2 meters; it is interspersed with fifteen 15-meter towers (one inside the city walls) and two entrance doors: Porta Franca (towards Siena) and Porta San Giovanni (towards Florence). The fortress of Monteriggioni was originally surrounded by the “charcoal pits”, a moat filled with coal, which during the assaults was burned to repel the enemies, it is thought that in the past, it was equipped with a drawbridge that had to allow the passage on a now disappeared, external moat. Monteriggioni was also placed under control of the ancient Via Francigena, frequented by European pilgrims who wanted to reach Rome.
The Via Francigena also represents a real driving force for the economy and employment in the territory, as an important tourist-cultural resource. If you stroll through the charming village of the thirteenth century, you love to immerse yourself in the medieval atmosphere that emanates, then you can not miss the “Monteriggioni di torri si corona” festival that takes place every year during the middle of July. A festival reminiscent of the medieval history of Monteriggioni and its cultural traditions, during which everything is faithfully rebuilt. The inhabitants of the village wear the clothes of the time and interpret a character, are served foods such as spelled soup, and drinks such as “spicy wine” and “water mulsa”. You can not pay with the current currency, before entering the Castle you have to change it with “the shield of Monteriggioni” and then no cars, only horses and mules; no electricity, only torches and candles. A real dive into the past that will make your stay in this village even more magical. The first week of October is celebrated “The Autumn Festival” in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary, protector of Monteriggioni. At 10.00 on Sunday Mass is celebrated, while at 16.00 the procession begins, during which the inhabitants bring a picture of the Madonna of the 1600s through the streets of the village and around the walls of the Castle as the ancient tradition wanted. On the occasion of the festival the center comes alive with stalls where the locals dressed in typical vintage clothes serve local wines such as Chianti and Brunello, served to “stir” in the terracotta glasses, to try also the “squeezing of the new grapes” carried out in the press in front of tourists who are said to be propitiatory for a good harvest, while other stalls display handicrafts, crockery production, local ceramics, old agricultural tools and disused objects. In the central square it is possible to see medieval representations, and again, classical music concerts up to the evocative fireworks made around the castle walls. On the evening of Christmas Eve, the “Fiaccolata” takes place, an event organized by the Municipality of Monteriggioni and the C.A.I. Participants about 500 people meet at 21.30 in the square of the Castle of Monteriggioni where the torches are distributed and at 21.45 the march begins in single file so as to give rise to a very long snake of lights coming out of the Castle door goes along the slopes of the hill in the Cassia road up to continue on the route of the via Francigena with arrival at Abbadia a Isola where the Christmas Mass is held in the Abbey of Saints Salvatore and Cirino. After the mass there is a buffet offered by the voluntary associations of the Municipality, a toast and the exchange of good wishes. The torchlight procession is very evocative and attracts people from all over Tuscany, and for the occasion the castle walls are lit by small oil torches. Tuscany is known for its products that are part of the excellence of food and wine, and the territory of Monteriggioni, which is an integral part of it, fully respects this tradition. The small wineries offer wines now famous all over the world, among which the Chianti Classico DOCG and the Chianti Colli Senesi DOCG stand out.