Montefollonico is a charming stone village, located on the top
of a hill in the province of Siena, easily reachable also from
Montepulciano and Pienza. What to see in Montefollonico?
During the guided tour, you will see the reason why Montefollonico can boast the orange flag, a recognition conferred by the Italian Touring Club for the preservation of the historic center. It is, in fact, a harmonious and well-preserved medieval village, which offers ancient history, paths in the natural park and excellent catering services.
The history of Montefollonico dates back to Neanderthal man, as evidenced by the discovery of some tools in the locality "Il Tondo", something to see just a few steps from the village. Like many other places in the area, Montefollonico was also dominated by Etruscans and Romans, but its true development took place in medieval times, thanks to the Cistercian monks, who founded the parish of San Leonardo and dedicated themselves to the fulling of wool, from hence the Latin name "fullones": hence, Montefollonico. Inside the village we find the 12th century church of San Bartolomeo, while outside the convent of "S. Maria de Folonico".
In Montefollonico you can see the ancient walls, which still retain some cylindrical towers and the Cassero tower, from 1277. Always in opposition to Montepulciano (ally of Florence), in 1543 it surrendered to the imperial army of Charles V and entered be part of the Florentine domain. One thing to see are the three gates, Follonica, Triano and Pianello, which still give access to the historic center. In the main street of the village of Montefollonico we find the public cistern, where three ancient coats of arms are affixed: of the Marquises Coppoli, of the Landucci family and of a religious corporation.
On the top of the hill, near the village of Montefollonico, one thing to see is the park called “il Tondo”, characterized by a forest of cypresses and holm oaks arranged in a circular manner. It is a singular place, which grants the visitor an extraordinary view and absolute peace: it was the place where numerous tools of primitive man were found. Thanks to a particular microclimate, plant essences of extreme interest and rarity grow in the park, like many varieties of wild orchids, which bloom between April and July. To see the surrounding area, from the park “il Tondo” there are numerous paths that descend along the slopes of the hill.
Among the things to see in Montefollonico, do not miss the
celebrations for the ancient tradition of Vin Santo, a fortified
wine that goes well with the Tuscan specialty of cantucci. In
the medieval setting of the village, during the feast of 8
December, the event called "Would you like a drop of Vin Santo?"
During the festival, visitors can see the ancient cellars where, with the well-known Tuscan hospitality, small doses of Vin Santo are offered: a truly precious product. A visit to this Sienese town offers an opportunity to get to know other surrounding villages: what to see near Montefollonico?
Among the most evocative and interesting medieval villages that we can see in the Sienese Valdichiana, there is certainly Castelmuzio. The origins of the village date back to the Etruscan era, as evidenced by the discovery of the remains of a temple dedicated to the goddess Isis, as well as tombs, cinerary urns and Etruscan inscriptions. The structure of Castelmuzio follows the medieval model of the fortified castle, surrounded by walls and bastions to facilitate the defense of the inhabitants. At the entrance to the town, there is the ancient stone on which San Bernardino of Siena used to rest. The Belvedere terrace is worth seeing: a look at the 180 ° panorama, made up of olive groves, vineyards and hills.
The medieval village of Trequanda lies on a hill between the Val d'Asso and the Valdichiana, not far from the Via Cassia, which the Romans built to connect Rome to “Florentia”. Once the town was protected by mighty walls, today it is enveloped by the authentic atmosphere that this part of Tuscany can offer. Seeing Trequanda means immersing yourself in past history when, in the medieval period, it was a crossroads of people, armies and intense traffic from all over Europe. From the Porta del Sole or the Porta al Leccio you enter the town, where we meet the majestic Castle of the Cacciaconti family and the Romanesque church of Saints Peter and Andrew.
The landscape of San Giovanni d'Asso is characterized by hilly reliefs with vast and arid clayey soils, called "Crete Senesi". Etruscan remains and Roman remains have been found in the area, but the urban layout is medieval. After visiting the nearby church of San Pietro in Villore, dating back to 714, we can see the area of the so-called Borghetto, that is the upper part of the village, enclosed by crenellated walls and characterized by the presence of the medieval castle, seat of the Municipality, of the Truffle Museum and Educational center of wild herbs. San Giovanni d'Asso is famous for its truffles: do not miss the opportunity to taste it in the bars in the center.
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