The Middle Ages has left many traces in Tuscany; that historical period, in fact, was one of the most flourishing for this region in terms of art and architecture, as proved by the Romanesque and Gothic style, which here expressed many masterpieces. One of the most representative example of it is Monteriggioni, a town situated on the border of Chianti area, in province of Siena.
Monteriggioni - gateway to the Middle Ages
Before you even enter the town, your gaze will be kidnapped by the landscape composed of the green cypress trees that surround the walls and the hill on which the imposing 14 towers of the castle stand. The castle was built by the Sienese between 1213 and 1219 for defensive purposes: its strategic location atop a hill overlooking the Cassia Road allowed the castle to control the cities of the Val d’Elsa and Staggia and be on the lookout for any armies approaching Siena. The current structure of the village is essentially the original one, the only changes it went through date back to the 16th century when the towers were lowered and some earth accumulated at the base of the walls and another dating back to 1921 when 3 of the 14 towers were reduced to the level of the walls.
Every July within the fortified wall of the town a special event is celebrated: the Medieval Festival of Monteriggioni, one of the most beautiful medieval festivals in the region. The festival is now in its 28th yearly edition, without interruptions. It is among the oldest, if not the oldest in Italy. The average duration is 6 days (two weekends in July) and it is on a large scale because it takes place in the entire castle.
The city goes back in time to the Middle Ages: the streets fill up with craftsmen, cavaliers and people in period costume creating a really enchanting atmosphere. Dances, live performances, music, theatre, kids entertainment, duels, acrobats, storytellers and more entertain the public as well as recreate the atmosphere of what chaotic life in a castle used to be like.
The festival offers a trip through history offering the chance to savor ancient flavors as well: taverns and restaurants are open all night long offering you a new experience dedicated to "wine and food" of those times. We encourage you to exchange your euro with medieval coins to use to purchase food and more inside the castle.