This post is also available in: French
Today, I’m going to share with you our most beautiful find during our Italy roadtrip.
After visiting the beautifully famous Cinque Terre villages in Liguria, we headed to Tuscany. Off course, we visited Sienne, Florence and Pisa, but we were especially excited about the Chianti wine region and the beautiful picturesque Tuscan villages.
We kind of found Monteriggioni by accident, on the road between Volterra and Sienne. I was shocked to learn that there is no mention whatsoever of this village in the Lonely Planet. It doesn’t even appear on the map, what a waste of beautiful ! Or maybe not such a waste. At least, it’s more pleasant this way with the least tourists possible. You can enjoy it to its maximum before it gets invaded.
What makes Monteriggioni different from other Tuscan villages ? First of all, it is very small. I mean VERY small: two main streets and a few side streets. But what makes it special is its oval shape. The village is entirely surounded by walls, protected with fourteen towers. San Gimignano had better watch out, there is a competitor here.
Look at the aerial photo (source photo: Monteriggioni Turismo), you cannot skip this. It’s so pretty. I’m used to visiting medieval towns, but I have never seen one like Monteriggioni. Carcassonne (in France) was my reference, but now that I’ve seen that, I can say there is no other town built with such regularity as this one.
The town was built in the XIII th century by the Republic of Siena and they built it this way to protect it from attacks from Florence.
The buildings inside the fort are entirely made of stones. I loved spotting the differences in stone color on a same building. The Chiesa di Santa Maria Assunta (church on the main square), is especially stunning to admire at different hours of the day. Inside the church, it’s quite small and cosy, at the same scale as the rest of the village (=small). The bell tower is visible from anywhere in the village and particularly beautiful to photograph from the city walls.
Yes, you can walk on the city walls, isn’t that great ! We can’t walk around 360°, only at two different places, but the view on Tuscany’s countryside and the rest of the village is remarkable. Indeed, in wartime the people on the watchtower had a great location that allowed them to spot the enemies kilometres away.
For the video games players or geeks, the name of Monteriggioni may sound familiar to you. It was used in Assassin’s Creed as the headquarters of the Assassin Order where the main character Ezio Auditore decided to kill all the Templars. For this reason, you can visit a micro-museum about Templars in Monteriggioni. The tour of the museum is pretty quick but I like how the decors have been set. Although it would have been a good idea to put some descriptive signs in order to really feel what it was like in that era. You should consider this place more like entertainment rather than a real museum. You can also find numerous derived products from Assassin’s Creed game but also from other franchises: Game of Thrones, Hunger Games… There is a real Museum of Arms and Armours if you are interested, near the Tourist office.
Honestly, Monteriggioni was the best find of our trip which we will recommend to all our friends. Watching the photos again, two weeks after our return, the magic is still here for me. I loooove this village, I love its history and its legend, I love its architecture, its restaurants, its localization (20min from Sienne, in the middle of rural Tuscany). I was very surprised that such a place did not get more tourists. But good for us then. It’s a real “coup de coeur” as we say in French.
Useful Information :
Monteriggioni is located 20 minutes away North-West from Sienne, in the direction of Volterra.
Parking : no cars are allowed inside Monteriggioni. Use the public parkings before the village entrance gate. It costs 2€ for 1.5 hour or 3€ for the whole day.
Home-made pasta restaurant: Osteria Antico Travaglio (on the main square). I recommend the truffle tortello, pure delicacy.
Templars museum : free entrance
Walking on the city walls: 2€
Have you ever been to Monteriggioni ? Have you discovered an Italian village by chance for which you literally fell in love ? Share your best addresses in the comments.