Monteriggioni: Small but Mighty

Monteriggioni is small. So small that, if you're in a hurry, you can see the whole place in fifteen minutes. But I would suggest to savour this fortified town because it is quite enchanting and it one of the best-preserved medieval towns in Italy.

Sincerely Loree: Monteriggioni, Tuscany

Sincerely Loree: Monteriggioni, Tuscany

A very brief history of Monteriggioni

The hill on which Monteriggioni is located was fortified by the Siennese in 1203 with a ring-shaped wall that follows the natural contours of the land. Due to a dispute with Florence over the surrounding territory, a ware broke out between the two cities and the Siennese were victorious. In 1260 they extended the fortifications and strengthened the walls with fourteen towers. The town finally fell to Florence in 1554 and the following year Siena and all its territory was taken over by the Medici family.

Sincerely Loree: Monteriggioni, Tuscany

Monteriggioni's walls and towers

Sincerely Loree: Porta Franca, Monteriggioni, Tuscany
Monteriggioni's towers captured the imagination of Dante who, in the 14th century, compared them to horrific giants who surround the deepest pit of hell. But there's nothing hellish about Monteriggioni. 
Sincerely Loree: Monteriggioni, Tuscany

Sincerely Loree:  Monteriggioni, Tuscany


Sincerely Loree: Monteriggioni, Tuscany

It is a pretty town with mostly medieval and some Renaissance architecture and a jaw-dropping view of the surrounding Chianti region. 
Sincerely Loree: Monteriggioni, Tuscany

Sincerely Loree: Monteriggioni, Tuscany
The town hasn't changed much over the centuries and its ten-metre high city walls, that are almost circular in design, are still intact. The town has two gates: the Porta Franca (facing Rome) and the Porta di San Giovanni (facing Florence) that are connected by the main road, via  I° Maggio.
Sincerely Loree: Porta Franca, Monteriggioni, Tuscany

Sincerely Loree: Porta San Giovanni, Monteriggioni, Tuscany

Sincerely Loree: Porta San Giovanni, Monteriggioni, Tuscany

Sincerely Loree: Piazza Roma,Monteriggioni, Tuscany


Just inside Porta Franca is Piazza Roma that was used as a vegetable garden in times of siege. The Romanesque church of Santa Maria Assunta, which was built between 1213 and 1235, is located in this square.
Sincerely Loree: Church of Santa Maria Assunta, Monteriggioni, Tuscany

Sincerely Loree: Church of Santa Maria Assunta, Monteriggioni, Tuscany

Sincerely Loree: Church of Santa Maria Assunta, Monteriggioni, Tuscany

Sincerely Loree: Church of Santa Maria Assunta, Monteriggioni, Tuscany

The via Francigena

Sincerely Loree:  Monteriggioni, Tuscany
We saw signs for the via Francigena all over Tuscany and were rather intrigued to learn that it is a medieval pilgrim trail that stretches from Canterbury Cathedral (England) to Rome. Along the way it passes through France, Switzerland, northern Italy and Tuscany, winding its way through picturesque countryside and connecting many monasteries and abbeys along its route. Monteriggioni was (and still is) a major stop on this pilgrim trail. The first person to walk the via Francigena is said to have been Sigeric the Serious, Archbishop of Canterbury, in 990 AD. Since then thousands of pilgrims have followed the route which is becoming more popular with the advent of slow travel. The via Francigena measures more than 2000 km and takes over 90 days to complete.

Sincerely Loree:  Monteriggioni, Tuscany

The quirkiest shoe shop in town

Sincerely Loree:  Monteriggioni, Tuscany
There aren't too many stores in Monteriggioni but there is one particular store that shouldn't be missed. Pratesi has been making shoes since 1857 - and oh what wonderful shoes they create! I have never seen a shoe store like the one in Monteriggioni in all my life. It's not a very big space but it is crammed with such a wide variety of shoes, in so many colours and quirky styles, that it took my breath away. I didn't know where to look first. It felt like shoe heaven and I was so spoilt for choice that I didn't end up  buying anything. Have you ever been so overwhelmed with beautiful shoes that you didn't know which pair to choose and ended up walking out of the store empty handed? Well, that's what happened to me. I couldn't make a decision and, since we couldn't spend half the day, there I walked away empty handed. But, the store does have a website Pratesi Shoes and you can also find them on Etsy. The good news is that they ship their genuine leather, handmade shoes worldwide.

Sincerely Loree:  Monteriggioni, Tuscany

PRATESI

Via I° Maggio, 15, 53035 Monteriggioni SI, Italy

I hope you are enjoying my 'Tuscan Series'. Since we're not too far away from Christmas I will try to share posts that are more in tune with the season. I will resume my 'Tuscan Series' in the new year.

Sincerely Loree:  Monteriggioni, Tuscany
Salty Pumpkin Studio said...

What a lovely tour!
Sitting in the sun enjoying the buildings, the history is beautiful to image.

Debbie Nolan said...

Oh my Loree...what a gorgeous place...it does have breathtaking views as well as great architectural buildings. The blue sky is amazing...so clear and such a beautiful backdrop for this small village of Monteriggion. I loved the shoes...wow I bet they are so well made. Since shoes are a weakness for me I would probably have stayed there all day. :)! Hope you are having a delightful week. Hugs!

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