From Dante Alighieri to the Assassin’s Creed saga, Monteriggioni has been playing with people’s imagination for centuries. It is a perfectly preserved Medieval walled village just 20 km. from Siena in Tuscany, central Italy.
Monteriggioni is one of the most impressive walled Medieval towns in Tuscany. It’s the typical fortified village that started its life as a castle, perfectly rounded to suit the hill on which it has stood since the beginning of 1200. Today its mighty towers can still be seen for miles. Towers that once impressed Dante Alighieri so much that in his Divine Comedy he compared them to “horrific giants”.
This was a good spot on the Via Francigena from which to control the disputed border territory between Florence and Siena. After the victory at Montaperti in 1260 the fortifications were extended and the walls of the castle strengthened with the 14 towers. The castle was finally lost to Florence in 1554 and the following year Siena and all its territory was taken over by the Medici’s Signoria.
What to see and do in Monteriggioni, Tuscany, Italy
Today Monteriggioni hasn’t lost a shred of its Medieval character. Its tightly woven cobbled streets haven’t seen much change over the passing centuries, and its city walls are still intact. You can even take a short walk along them thanks to the recently added walkway . The ticket costs 2 Euro (keep it because there’re two sections that can be climbed) or you can get a combined ticket that also includes the interactive Armoury museum.
Armoury Museum: Faithful reproductions of Medieval and Renaissance weapons and armour, including siege engines recreated as models. There’s a room given over to each period of the town’s history, and the items on display are placed in their proper context. Part of the fun of this museum is that you can try on some armour and swing a 10 kg sword. There’s a small souvenir shop too.
Church of Santa Maria Assunta: in the main square, next to the Armoury Museum, there’s the tiny 13th century church with an elegant façade.
Monteriggioni Medieval festival at the beginning of July is one of the most popular festivals in Tuscany: the town dresses itself up in Medieval finery. There are games, falconry displays and food stalls.
If it’s Medieval charm you’re after, check our post with more recommendations about the best of Tuscany’s hilltop towns in the province of Florence.
If you’re based in Siena, Monteriggioni makes a perfect day trip from Siena. You can combine a visit to the towns of Colle Val d’Elsa or the world famous San Gimignano.
Did you know?
Monteriggioni Castle was surrounded not by water but by coal that would be lit in case of attack.
Assassin’s Creed: live the game in Monteriggioni
If you’re a fan of the game, this castle is the place where the magnificent feats of Ezio Auditore are set. You’ll recognise the powerful outer walls that for centuries resisted the attacks of the Florentines, and you’ll even be able to walk along them like a warrior of old. Entering the Armoury Museum, you’ll feel like you’re in the armoury of Ezio’s villa, and what it’s like to be in the “shoes” of a legendary knight.