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Inhabitants in 1991: 7.134

The municipal territory of Monteriggioni extends for 99,49 square kilometres in Val d’Elsa, between the valley of the river Staggia and the hills which surround it. Walled castle then free municipality it became Community Seat in 1777.

The castle of Monteriggioni was constructed in the second decade of the XIII century by Siena as a military garrison on the borders with Firenze, but there was news of the place in 1126 and 1154 when the Nobles di Staggia had the rights over it. Contested in vain by Firenze and also the Bishop of Volterra, the legitimate proprietor of all the zone, Siena constructed their own fortified settlement there strengthening it (even though a peace clause in 1232 between Firenze and Siena foresaw its destruction) in the second half of the century with surrounding walls bristling with towers. Its importance grew in the XIV century when Monteriggione was well organised as municipality with its own statutes. Its dependence to Siena and its position rendered it the target of various Fiorentini attacks, until the betrayal in 1554 by the exiling Fiorentino Giovannino Zeti who had command of the garrison, consigning the castle to the Imperial troops. Monteriggioni preserves clear traces of the massive surrounding walls re-enforced with 14 square towers from its military function. In the territory of Monteriggioni is found the suggestive Romanic Abbey at Isola founded in 1001 by the Nobles di Staggia.

Places to visit:
On the summit of a hillock rises Monteriggione with the suggestive and perfectly conserved surrounding wall with the particular almost round form. This is the most significant example of “terra murata” of the Siena territory. The fortress was founded in 1203 by Siena as an outpost against Firenze, in about 1215 it was surrounded by walls which were then damaged by the Fiorentini attacks in 1244. They were remade as we see them today, in c.1265. The curtain wall encircles the town for nearly six hundred metres and to support the turn of the curve at ground level it was made with this circular form; it is fortified with 14 square towers which inspired in Dante the similarity with the Giants in the XXXI canto dell’Inferno.

Historical info reproduced upon authorization of Regione Toscana - Dipartimento della Presidenza E Affari Legislativi e Giuridici
Translated by Ann Mountford
Picture by Sandro Santioli

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