Montefollonico in the province of Siena
The small village of Montefollonico stands on a high hill that separates the Val di Chiana from the Val d’Orcia. Fraction of the municipality of Torrita di Siena, Montefollonico is the typical medieval hilltop village of Tuscany.
Although small, Montefollonico boasts numerous strengths. These include the beauty of its historic center, the enviable position, the typical products and a valid accommodation offer. All these qualities have led the village to obtain the prestigious recognition of the Bandiera Arancione of the Italian Touring Club.
This area has been inhabited since prehistoric times. The first to leave traces were the Neanderthals about 60,000 years ago. After them the Etruscans and Romans also passed through here, but the village that we can admire today began to form no earlier than the year 1000. If already in the sixth century there was a fortification here, the inhabited center developed only after the foundation of the parish church of San Leonardo, starting from the 12th century.
The castle of Montefollonico soon became important from a strategic point of view. In fact, at that time here was the border between Montepulciano which was an ally of Florence and the Republic of Siena, to which Montefollonico was linked. Montefollonico always remained faithful to Siena but in 1543 had to surrender to the troops of Charles V and thus became part of the Florentine territories.
The name derives from the Latin “fullones“, a term used to identify the people who work the woolen cloths. This is explained by the fact that the monks of the abbey which was located in the first residential area of the village carried out the activity of “fulling”, that is, the processing and dyeing of wool.
- What to see in Montefollonico
- What to see in the surroundings
- How to get to Montefollonico
- Where to sleep
What to see in Montefollonico
Montefollonico is still enclosed within its medieval walls which were restored several times during the long war between Siena and Florence. Along the walls there are three entrance gates, Porta a Follonica, Porta a Triano and Porta del Pianello which is equipped with artillery positions. Inside the walls there are some interesting monuments such as the Church of San Leonardo, the Palace of Justice and the Oratory of Corpus Domini. Just outside the historic center, the “Il Tondo” Natural Park is also worth a visit.
Church of San Leonardo
The church of San Leonardo in Montefollonico has been documented since the beginning of the 13th century. A little Romanesque, a little Gothic, the church has a beautiful splayed portal on the facade flanked by small columns with fine sculpted capitals. Another beautiful portal opens on the right side of the church.
Palazzo di Giustizia
The former Palazzo di Giustizia of Montefollonico was once the seat of the Council that governed and administered the village on the basis of the city statutes that came into force in 1560. Looking at its facade, it can be seen that over the centuries this building has undergone numerous interventions of restoration and reconstructions. Also on the façade you can see the public Oriolo, the clock made by Adriano Stellini in the eighteenth century and a bell which, according to a local medieval tradition, serves against storms.
Corpus Domini Oratory
Continuing along the main street of Montefollonico, in the direction of Porta del Triano, you will find the oratory of the Compagnia del Corpus Domini. Built around the fifteenth century, the church preserves some frescoes depicting the Passion of Christ with adoring angels and a painting, deposition of the Cross, attributed to the school of Luca Signorelli. A little further on there is also the former Church of San Bartolomeo.
Il Tondo Park
One of the advantages of Montefollonico is that of being surrounded by greenery. Just outside the town we also find the Il Tondo nature park. Created around the mid-nineteenth century, the park is characterized by a particular microhabitat that favors the birth of some very rare species of orchids.
What to see in the surroundings of Montefollonico
Lying between the Val di Chiana and the Val d’Orcia, Montefollonico is close enough to many beautiful places that deserve to be visited. Let’s start with the Val di Chiana; in addition to Torrita di Siena, there are Montepulciano, Cortona, Chiusi and Sarteano. In Val d’Orcia you cannot miss Pienza, San Quirico and Montalcino. If you want in the area there are also some spas such as Chianciano and Bagno Vignoni. I assure you that these are some of the places you can visit in this part of Tuscany, for all the others I invite you to explore the site!
Lo gradireste un goccio di vin santo?
Lo gradireste un goccio di vin santo? (Would you like a drop of vin santo?) is the name of a food and wine event that takes place in Montefollonico in the first days of December. I don’t think it needs to be said, but the main theme is that of the vin santo which is a typical product of this village. Another product that you must taste is the grande vecchio di Montefollonico, a typical pecorino cheese of these parts.
How to get to Montefollonico
Montefollonico is located about 60 km from Siena, 50 km from Arezzo and 100 from Florence. The nearest train station is Torrita which is 10 kilometers away. Torrita station is connected with Siena thanks to a regional train service. From there a bus departs which takes you to the village in 20 minutes.
By car, whether you come from the north or the south, you must take the A1 Autostrada del Sole motorway to the Valdichiana / Bettolle-Sinalunga exit and then continue on the SS327 towards Torrita di Siena.
Where to sleep in Montefollonico
In Montefollonico and its surroundings there are many farmhouses, hotels and holiday homes where you can sleep.