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The Radicofani fortress or "Rocca di Ghino di Tacco"

The Radicofani's rocca is documented the existence since 978, although origins are much older and can be traced back to Carolingian times, when it was bought by the monks of Abbadia San Salvatore.  The castle was a possession of the monks until 1153 when it was redeemed by the Papal States. Because of its strategic position along the ancient via Francigena (is located on a hill top 896 metres and reaches embattled the remarkable terrace of +960 mt quota s.l.m.) the fortress of Radicofani was used by Pope Adrian IV to stem their advance (both political and military) of Frederick I Barbarossa ... that ruled Tuscany South Centre from the top of the castle of Montegrossi.

Sir Ghino di Tacco was the Italian Robin Hood and twice in 1297/1298 and 1300, he conqueired the Rocca!  Ghino di Tacco (Ghinotto) was born in Torrita di Siena by the Cacciaconti Monacheschi Pecorai family (but some people scrive descended from the lineage of the Earls of Guardavalle or perhaps a descendant of the Monaceschi family of Torrita), one of the most important in the area. Of great stature and overpowering, endowed with unusual courage, is kicked out of his home town to delinquent activities (including the father and brother are accused of robbery) and spent several years as a bandit in Maremma.

From 1297 to 1300 is in Radicofani, where possessing della Rocca (minus the Church), dominates the territory with his deeds, to some as "the injustices and fanding powerful", for others simply as "audacious bandit".

Are in these years is the legendary figure of Ghino di Tacco, rebellious Ghibelline making it the basis of its firms from "gentleman highwayman", mentioned by Dante and Boccaccio. In the 14th century and in the 15th century the alternates repeatedly between the Salimbeni and the Sienese Republic.  In 1458 Pope Pius II Piccolomini donates the Rocca di Radicofani in Siena and became the stronghold to the South.  During the war of Siena against Emperor Charles V (1554-1555) the castle was besieged in vain by the troops of Cosimo de ' Medici.  The resistance of the Rocca di Radicofani ends at sunset of August 17, 1559, when it lowered the glorious Balzana, last municipal flag of freedom in Italy. Passed under the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, the fortress was renovated by the architect Baldassarre Lanci. The work lasted from 1560 to 1567 and, if possible, made even more impenetrable fortress into a veritable fortress. The fortress of Radicofani has a pentagonal outer defensive, while the inner one has a triangular shape with the ruins of the three corner towers and a central building (Quarterdeck) restored and open to visitors. Between the input and the quarterdeck is a large square called the discovery. The Radicofani fortress was destroyed in 1735 by his own Commander Piero da Piancastagnaio for revenge of his removal from Office, and only at the end of 1900, there have been some serious restoration work. Visiting the Castle/fortress of Radicofani is chargeable.  The mere sight of Valdorcia pen Tower of Cassero is worth the price of admission, which is however very low!

For visits and information about the fortress you must contact the tourist information Brigadoon, managing body of the Park and of the fortified town at the following telephone number 3397437934 or via email  Unfortunately, the visit to the Rocca di Radicofani is practically impossible for the handicapped, except for restricted portions of the site.


CASTIGLION d'Orcia is known from 714, when it was a possession of the Aldobrandeschi family and certainly had the name of Petra. In 1252 it became a free commune, but its independence lasted more than a century; in 1274 he was included in the County of Santa Fiora with the Division of the possessions of the Aldobrandeschi family. In the fourteenth century is known with certainty that was already a possession of Siena, which later granted it to powerful families in Exchange for favors financial in nature, such as the Piccolomini and Salimbeni before then, that used Castiglione d'Orcia just as one of the bases for their revolt against the Sienese. Later, Castiglione was mano to the Florentines, who in 1605 the committed to the noble Bolognese family of Riario.

The best known monument of Castiglion D'orcia is undoubtedly the Tower of the Rocca di Hesitates. This impressive Quarterdeck is placed on top of a limestone hill which rises on the val d'Orcia and the small medieval town of Rocca d'Orcia. The fortress was always a strategic settlement for the watchmen who were guarding him the Orcia Valley between the ninth and 14th centuries. Was the scene of a major clash between the Salimbeni family and the Republic of Siena, which re-acquired in 1408. After two centuries of use as a lookout point, the fortress was the last theater again clash that saw her starring in the 16th century between Siena and Florence. Note that in both of the battles the fortress was conquered only thanks to betrayal of forces that garrisoned. Although many people consider the Rocca di Hesitates an integral part of the village of Castiglione d'Orcia, it is fair to say that historically the two villages, as neighbors, have always followed very distinct historical events, at least until 1777, when the Municipality of Rocca was merged with that of Castiglione. Other rocca Aldobrandesca, is that on top of Castiglione d'Orciathat "looks" that Hesitates, while of considerable artistic interest are the square dedicated to Vecchietta, Lorenzo di Pietro (1412-1480) says the old woman born in Castiglione. The square is located in the heart of the old town and is home to the Town: in slope and a cobblestone-paved in stones not worked, has a central fountain in travertine from the 15th century. Inside the palazzo del comune is preserved a fresco of the Sienese school (Madonna and child with two Saints) from Rocca d'Orcia. Other monuments worth visiting are the Church of Santa Maria Maddalena and the parish church of Saints Stefano and Degna. St. Mary Magdalene Church has Romanesque origin and recently restored. The parish church of Saints Stefano and Degna has always been considered the most important religious building of Castiglione, the 16th-century façade while the plant is Romanesque. The Church is considered for the wealth of works of art contained in it, including a Madonna with child by Simone Martini and a Madonna with child by Pietro Lorenzetti. Among the places of worship are also the Church and the cave of St. Philip Benizi, the Church of San Biagio, chiesa della Compagnia di San Giovanni Battista, the chiesa della Madonna delle Querce, the Church of Madonna delle Grazie di Manno, the Church of San Sebastiano, the Church of San Simeone and the Hermitage of live with the pieve di San Marcello and the oratorio di San Bartolomeo


PIENZA Pienza's history is closely linked to that of Enea Silvio Piccolomini born in Pienza the 18 October 1405 and became Pope in 1458 as Pius II.

The great humanist Pius II wanted to transform his native Pienza (Corsignano) from small medieval village (the ancient Castello di Corsignano is known since 828) in a papal residence in Renaissance style. 

The original project of 1459 thought and designed by Bernardo Gambarelli called il Rossellino (a student of Leon Battista Alberti) 15th-century buildings remain today many species along corso Rossellino and piazza Pio II (the heart of the village) which is overlooked by the Cathedral and the main historical buildings of Pienza.

The main square of Pienza with the Palazzo Piccolomini is situated just 25 km from the Palazzina jobs lasting just over three years and August 29, 1462 for the feast of Saint John the Baptist, Pius II consecrated the Cathedral and inagurava the new city of Pienza.La piazza principale di Pienza con il Palazzo Piccolomini dista solo 25 km dalla Palazzina

But Pius II and the Rossellino power long enjoy their creature, tied by a strange fate in 1464 both died within two months of each other, the Pope in Ancona where he was about to embark on a crusade and Rossellino while thinking of a new city.


San Quirico d'Orcia is a country of ancient Etruscan origin that preserves a beautiful medieval structure. Located in the province of Siena, on what was the route of the via Francigena, which in this part and next to the current location of the via Cassia. It is located on the hills that separate the Val d'Orcia val d'asso, in an area with breathtaking views, posted by UNESCO World Heritage site. The first document on San Quirico in 712 a.d. in an Act concerning a dispute between the Roman Catholic Diocese of Siena and Arezzo for possession of some churches. Among these figure a pieve of San Quirico in di Osenna. "Di Osenna" brings us to the Etruscan origin of this village. The name will remain in vogue until the 17th century. 

During the 11th century the effects of proximity to the via Francigena, crossed by pilgrims on their way to Rome from Northern Europe, lead to a rapid growth of the village. San Quirico was appointed as important staging places in the Chronicles of the time. In 994, Sigeric, Archbishop of Canterbury, s. Quirico cites as one of the leading mail stations along the Francigena. In 1154 camps in San Quirico even the emperor Frederick I, bound for Rome to be gored by Pope Hadrian I. Right nearby is the meeting between the King and the messengers of the Pope. In the 11th century, the territory is partially enfeoffed to the family of the Ardengheschi counts. But between XI and XII century San Quirico is subject to imperial authority and home to a vicar. In 1180 San Quirico ends under the jurisdiction of Siena who made it one of its strongholds in the countryside. In 1205, in borgo rejoined the League in Tuscany, with the purpose of making arrangements to conduct policy towards hostile Montepulciano. The latter city, and sometimes even Orvieto, often contrasted the Sienese hegemony: bringing severe devastation in San Quirico as in 1234 and in 1251. To prevent other attacks the siennese authorities carried out a work of strengthening of the fortifications. In 1262 the village became the seat of the Vicariate and el 1385 was granted citizenship to the inhabitants of Siena. The village developed along the main road, where there were numerous shops, workshops and restaurants. He established a weekly market that helped to increase trade, thanks to the exemption from payment of import duties and Customs issued in 1385. Along the Via Francigena was also the Grancia at the Hospital of Santa Maria della Scala in Siena, as agricultural warehouse and Hospital for pilgrims. In the fifteenth century was repeatedly restored and strengthened the defensive apparatus.  In 1552 San Quirico is uns troop bases of Charles V, rides in Tuscany do drop the Sienese Republic. The Don Garzia chooses the village into the base of his raids in Val d'Orcia. With the fall of Siena, in 1559, San Quirico joins the Medicean State. In 1667 the town was granted in fief from Cosimo III to Cardinal Flavio Chigi, in whose family it remained until 1749.  Among the most notable monuments include the beautiful Collegiate Church of Santi Quirico e Giulitta, built on the ancient pieve di Osenna of the 8th century, with a magnificent Romanesque portal with Zoomorphic sculptures and a lintel with a fight between monsters. On the right side another Lombard Portal supported by caryatids of the school of Giovanni Pisano

On the back of the Church we find Palazzo Chigi, erected by Carlo Fontana for Cardinal Flavio Chigi. Following the via Francigena today Via Dante alighieri, we arrive in piazza della Libertà with the Church of s. Francesco which retains a Robbia's Madonna. On the square opens the door, flanked by the Horti Leonini, a park built by Diomede Leoni in 1540 with an Italian garden. Then you reach the Church of s. Maria assunta in Romanesque style lombardeggiante, with another interesting portal built with material coming from the Abbey of sant'antimo. Defensive structures remains much of the 15th century wall, missing the Northwest portion and a stretch in the South. Ben 14 are still visible between the towers and turrets, some of which are incorporated into other structures. There are North and South doors: Porta Nuova remains, amended several times over the centuries, and the Capuchin port with an original six-sided central body surrounded by small stone corbels supporting the arched door. Finally in the Horti Leonini lie the remains of the Torre del Cassero destroyed during the German retreat in 1944.


the Hill upon which Montalcino sits has been probably already inhabited in Etruscan times. Montalcino is first mentioned in a document dated 4 December 29, 81, when Emperor Louis the pious granted the territory sub monte Lucini to Abbot of the nearby Abbey of Sant'Antimo. On the origin of the name of Montalcino, there are at least two possibilities. Some believe it derives from Mons Lucinus mentioned in 814, document name to honour the goddess Lucina or reference to the Latin word lucus, meaning "sacred Grove", or more generally "small forest". Others, however, derive the toponym from Mons Ilcinus, from the Latin mons (mountain) and ilex (Holm oak), i.e. "monte dei lecci", widespread plant in the area also represented in the coat of arms of the city. With the passing of the centuries the name, however, you would be then transformed, from Mons Lucinus or Mons Ilcinus, Mons Elcinus and subsequently in Montalcino.

The first habitation is believed to date from the 10th century. During this time the population suffered a significant population increase when they moved into the city the inhabitants of Roselle. The original settlement was extended over the centuries until, in the 14th century, the current size. Thanks to the city's dominant position on the top of a hill, its avenues views views on valleys of Ombrone and the ACE. In medieval times the main economic activity was the tannery and Montalcino had many factories for the processing of leather, factories that were renowned for the quality of their products. Later, as happened to many cities and towns of the province of Siena, Montalcino experienced a serious economic and demographic crisis. Like many medieval villages in Tuscany, Montalcino experienced long periods of peace and which allowed the inhabitants a certain prosperity. This peace and prosperity, however, was interrupted by a series of extremely violent episodes. During the late Middle Ages was still an independent municipality of considerable importance due to its location on the old Via Francigena, the main road between France and Rome, but eventually entered the orbit of Montalcino powerful Siena. As a satellite of Siena, at the time of the battle of Montaperti 1260, Montalcino was deeply involved in the conflicts in which Siena was also involved, in particular those with the city of Florence during the 14th century and the 15th. Like many other cities of Central Europe and Northern Italy, the city was also involved in infighting between the Ghibellines (supporters of the Holy Roman Empire) and the Guelphs (supporters of the papacy). Factions of the two sides controlled the city at various times in the late medieval period. After the fall of Siena 1555 the Sienese nobles fortifying themselves in town for 4 years with the hope of one day returning to Siena, giving birth to the Republic of Siena repaired in Montalcino. But in the end even Montalcino became part of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany until 1861 Italy unit. The situation has radically changed in the second half of the 20th century. In the case of Montalcino luck was to be in the middle of one of the most important grape-growing areas.

The territory is marked by the presence of Sangiovese vineyards that produce the famous Brunello di Montalcino and also are used to produce two DOC: Rosso di Montalcino and sant'antimo