The village of Piancastagnaio on the Mount Amiata
Piancastagnaio is a small town located on the slopes of Mount Amiata on the Sienese side; it is the most southern municipality of the whole Province of Siena.
Since the VIII the area in which Piancastagnaio stands was of controlled by the important Abbey of San Salvatore. Between the XII and the XIII the Aldobrandeschi governed hereuntil they were replaced first by Orvieto and then by Siena. Piancastagnaio continued to be linked to Siena until the birth of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany (XVI century) when the village was granted in fief to the Marquis Giovanni Battista Bourbon del Monte.
Today Piancastagnaio is a peaceful place to stay surrounded by beautiful woods, ideal for landscaping during the summer.
Places to visit in Piancastagnaio
In the historic center and in the immediate vicinity, there are several interesting buildings such as the Palazzo Bourbon del Monte and the Teatro Comunale but the most important monuments to visit in Piancastagnaio are:
- Chiesa di San Francesco
- Rocca degli Aldobrandeschi
- Pieve di Santa Maria Assunta
- Santuario della Madonna di San Pietro
Chiesa di San Francesco
One of the most interesting monuments of the village is the Franciscan convent of San Bartolomeo (13th century), now a private property and home to events and ceremonies. Here you can visit the chiesa di San Francesco. Built according to the typical Franciscan scheme, which has a single nave covered with trusses that ends in a chapel with a cross vault, the church was later rebuilt in a Baroque style. Inside there are some frescoes: San Bernardino and stories of his life in the counter-façade, Madonna with Child on the left wall and a Massacre of the Innocents positioned behind the wooden choir.
Rocca degli Aldobrandeschi
The historic hamlet has a substantially circular shape and was once enclosed by a wall circuit with defensive towers. Today only some elements remain of these defensive structures, in particular short sections of the walls, some towers and four city gates have been preserved. The strong point of this defensive system is represented by the mighty Rocca Aldobrandesca. This well preserved structure, has a rectangular shape and is endowed with imposing walls with a shoe base and two towers: a smaller one to defend the adjacent city gate, and a larger one that served as a donjon. The fortress is equipped with various defensive devices such as corbels and battlements, although the latter have largely been lost.
Pieve di Santa Maria Assunta
In the central Piazza Matteotti, once home to the main religious and civil buildings such as the ancient Palazzo Pretorio, we find the clock tower and not far from it the Pieve di Santa Maria Assunta. Documented since 1188, it is the oldest church in the village. The church, today difficult to recognize because it is locked in the middle of other structures, has a single nave with side chapels.
Santuario dell Madonna di San Pietro
Leaving the village in the direction of Santa Fiora, you will find the Santuario della Madonna di San Pietro. The complex dates back to the sixteenth century and contains several works by Francesco Nasiti including a cycle of frescoes: Ecce Homo, Trionfo di San Michele, the Miracolo di Sant’Andrea Corsini, Angelo annunciante e la Vergine annunciata, Crocifissione and the Novissimi. The Sposalizio mistico di Santa Caterina d’Alessandria is made by his son, Don Antonio Nasini while the Madonna placed on the high altar is the work of Martino d’Urbano.
What to visit in the surroundings
Nature lovers will appreciate the wild and luxuriant nature of Mount Amiata that near the village of Piancastagnaio is protected through the Riserva Naturale del Pigelleto. Those who are more interested in the history and culture of these places should visit the other main centers of Amiata such as Santa Fiora (12 km away), Abbadia San Salvatore (5 km) and Arcidosso (20 km).