Monticchiello: Hidden Medieval Borgo in Val D’Orcia, Tuscany

I came upon Monticchiello 13 years ago as I wound around the same hairpin curves that I drove yesterday. Back in 2002, I was looking for quiet after visiting the famous wine towns of Montalcino and Montepulciano, both of which were bustling with tourists.
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The rolling hills were a bright green patchwork punctuated by cypress trees.
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The wind blew through the grass giving an illusion of waves rising and falling in the sea of silence.

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And every now and then, the Monte Amiata appeared in the distance. An extinct volcano, the Etruscans believed it was the home of the gods.

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The old medieval gate still leads the way into the town. From the eleventh to sixteenth centuries, the fortified town was often the scene of struggles between Siena and Florence. Finally, in 1559, it was deeded to the Medicis of Florence. Gradually, it lost strategic significance, was mostly abandoned, and remained frozen in the sixteenth century.

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I walked up through the gate into this square where a plaque commemorates four members of the Italian Resistance, who were killed by the Nazis on April 6, 1944. After taking the town and capturing the Partigiani, the Germans were preparing to kill them all by firing squad when a German woman, married to an Italian there, begged for mercy…and they were not shot.

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Walking up through the town, every house is decorated with flowers and immaculately kept.

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The old lavanderia is a remnant of harder times. At the very top of the town is a twelfth century tower that a Finnish sculptress bought in 1967 and completely renovated. It has all modern conveniences, three bedrooms and is now for sale.

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But there is an easier way to stay in a medieval tower in Monticchiello. See Post.

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