The Castle of Radicofani, the last stage in Tuscany of the via Francigena
The small village of Radicofani is perched in a strategic position on the southern edge of the Val d’Orcia. The castle of Radicofani dominates the valley and oversees the Via Francigena since at least the 10th century.
The origins of the village, the story of Ghino di Tacco
Already inhabited by Etruscans and Romans, the site is documented since the 876. In this area, the monks of San Salvatore in Monte Amiata had many properties.
The village was the center of many disputes because of its strategic location on the border between the Papal States and territories controlled by Siena. Here it is worth mentioning the story of Ghino di Tacco, a ghibelline rebel from Siena, who took possession of the castle of Radicofani before the village was subdued by Siena in 1405.
Ghino di Tacco, considered a kind of Robin Hood, made the fortress his lair from which he organized various acts of banditry against the travellers. Its peculiarity was that, apparently, he didn’t steal everything from these unfortunate and he even spared the poorest among them.
The actions of this man, who lived between the XIII and the XIV century, are remembered also by Dante Alighieri (Purgatory, VI, 13-14) and by Boccaccio.
Ghino di Tacco, a man very famous for his cruelty and his robberies, being expelled Siena and at feud with the Counts of Santa Fiore, raised Radicofani against the Church of Rome and taking up his sojourn there, caused his swashbucklers despoil whosoever passed through the surrounding country.
(Boccaccio, Decameron, Day the Tenth, The second Story – Payne translation from Project Gutemberg)
What to see in Radicofani
Coming from the Strada Provinciale 24, from Siena, we arrive on the western side of the village; here we find the Palazzo Pretorio that is currently the city hall.
Heading off along the main street, via Renato Magi, we will reach the Centre of the village. We can see how Radicofani has maintained a marked medieval appearance with irregular narrow streets, shut between solid stone houses.
The two main churches of the town, San Pietro (XIII century) and Sant’Agata (XVIII century), stand in a central position just a few meters from each other. Both churches have some artwork attributed to Andrea della Robbia and his school.
A short distance, south of the village, there is the Palazzo della Posta. This is a villa Medici located on via Cassia, that was transformed into a customs and then into a hotel.
The Castle of Radicofani
Documented since the 10th century, the fortress is situated in a dominant position at an altitude of almost 900 meters above sea level. It has been remodeled several times. Basically collapsed in 18th century, the fortress was partially rebuilt in the twentieth century.
Rocca di Radicofani
During the winter: saturday-sunday 10.00-20.00
From April: every day 10.00-20.00
Tickets: 4 euro