The Republic of Siena built the fortified village of Monteriggioni between 1214-1219 to help protect itself against rival Florence.
Florence tried to take over Monteriggioni in battles in 1244 and 1254 and again in 1269 after the ‘Battle of the Hill’ saw the Sienese flee to Monteriggioni.
Battles continued over Monteriggini throughout the 1300-1500s, until Florence finally won possession of Siena and thus Monteriggioni.
The locals were bought to Florence as slaves by Cosimo de’ Medici I. The Medici later sold Monteriggioni, before it was sold again to the Griccioli family that own Monteriggioni to this day.
With a diameter of just 172 metres, Monteriggioni is surrounded by walls that are 2-metres thick, with two gates that would have been closed to serve as further protection against attack. Today the gate structure remains but all that remains of the doors themselves are the hooks that once held them in place.
There were once 15 towers built into the surrounding walls that reached heights of 6.5 metres, although today only 11 remain at this height.
Outside the walls, there was once a moat-type ring that would have been filed with coal. Whenever Monteriggioni came under attack, this combustible material would have been lit to form a defensive ring of fire around the Tuscan village.
Further beyond the walls, orchards and gardens would have not only sustained those posted in Monteriggioni but also served as an added defence.
Central to Monteriggioni is the Piazza Roma. Here there is also the Church of Santa Maria Assunta. Today, there are also several coffee shops and eateries, wine stores, craft stores and more, with the income of Monteriggioni now reliant on tourism more than the traditional pastoral and agricultural trades.