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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Monteriggioni is a comune in the Province of Siena in the Italian region Tuscany. It borders on the communes of Casole d'Elsa, Castellina in Chianti, Castelnuovo Berardenga, Colle di Val d'Elsa, Poggibonsi, Siena and Sovicille. The town is architecturally and culturally significant; it hosts several Piazzas, is referenced in Dante Alighieris Divine Comedy, and appears in several modern video games.
Monteriggioni is a medieval walled town, located on a natural hillock, in the Siena Province of Tuscany - built by the Sienese in 1213 as a front line in their wars against Florence, by assuming command of the Cassia Road running through the Val d'Elsa and Val Staggia to the west. Monteriggioni, which sits in the center of the Comune of Monteriggioni (an approximate 19.49 km² area around the town), is located fifteen kilometers from the Province's capital.
During the conflicts between Siena and Florence in the Middle Ages (in which Florence was seeking to expand territory), the city was strategically placed as a defensive fortification. It also withstood many attacks from both the Fiorentini and forces controlled by the Bishop of Volterra. Eventually[when?] the Sienese were able to place control of the town's garrison to Giovannino Zeti, who had been exiled from Florence. In 1554, in an act of reconciliation with the Medicis, Zeti simply handed the keys of the town over to the Medicean forces - considered a "great betrayal" by the town's people.
Except for some work done in the 16th century, very little has been done to Monteriggioni's walls or buildings since they were first erected. Monteriggioni's walls and the buildings that make up the town within are the best preserved example of their kind in all of Italy, attracting tourists, architects, medieval historians and archaeologists. The town appears to float above the valley at night due to the hillside walls and towers being lit from below with light.
The roughly circular walls, totalling a length of about 570 meters and following the natural contours of the hill, were built between 1213 and 1219. There are fourteen towers on square bases set at equidistance, and two portals or gates. One gate, the Porta Fiorentina opens toward Florence to the north, and the other, the Porta Romana, faces Rome to the south. The main street within the walls connects the two gates in a roughly straight line.
The main piazza, the Piazza Roma, is dominated by a Romanesque church with a simple, plain facade. Other houses, some in the Renaissance style (once owned by local nobles, gentry and wealthy merchants) facing into the piazza. Off the main piazza smaller streets give way to public gardens fronted by the other houses and small businesses of the town. Back in more hostile times, these gardens provided vital sustenance when enemies gathered without.

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Additional Photos by Silvio Sorcini (Silvio1953) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 18003 W: 130 N: 37923] (205611)
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