Rocca d’Orcia and its impregnable fortress
Rocca d’Orcia is a tiny hilltop medieval village, located only a kilometre away from Castiglione d’Orcia. This hamlet, dominated by the remainongs of the imposing Rocca a Tentennano, is all gthered around the main square: piazza della cisterna.
The birth of Rocca d’Orcia probably dates back to the Etruscan age. We can say this thanks to the many etruscan findings of the area and also because the name of the fortress “Tentennano“, came from the etruscan word “Tinia” (that means Jupiter).
The first document wherewe can find the name Titinianum (medieval version of Tentennano) dates back to a period around the year 1000; at that time a castle and a village already existed, even if the current Rocca was built between the 11th and 12th centuries by the family Aldobrandeschi. During the Middle Ages, the Rocca a Tentennano was very important to control the via Francigena, a road that linked Rome to Canterbury crossing Tuscany, the north of Italy and France.
At the end of the 14th century the Rocca was conquered by the Repubblica di Siena and, about 50 years later it became part of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. Slowly the fortress lost its importance from a military point of view and the village began to depopulate; this was accentuated in particular during the 20th century as a result of the economic boom and the consequent depopulation of the countryside.
Today Rocca d’Orcia is a very quiet medieval hamlet that has well preserved its characteristics and therefore is well worth a visit.
Top places to visit in Rocca d’Orcia
- Piazza della Cisterna
- Rocca a Tentennano
- Chiesa di San Simeone
Rocca a Tentennano
The mighty Rocca a Tentennano (or Tintinnano), dates back the 12th century and is located on the top of a steep hill. This fortress belonged in the past to many families as the Tignosi, Aldobrandeschi and Salimbeni before the conquer by the Republic of Siena.
It’s well preserved the huge polygonal tower that almost seems to pop out of the overhanging rock with its imposing. From the terrace of this castle you can enjoy a wonderful view over the Val d’Orcia and the Mount Amiata.
Opening hours: Every day: 10-13 e 15-18
Closed on wednesday
Tickets: regular 3 euro, reduced 1,50 euro
Chiesa di San Simeone
The chiesa di San Simeone is situated in nice location midway between piazza della Cisterna and the Rocca a Tentennano. Inside there are many interesting art works as the remainings of some 14th century frescoes, Madonna della Misericordia e Battesimo di Cristo, a Madonna del Rosario attributed to Vincenzo Rustici and a Crocifissione by Fabrizio Boschi (17th century).
Things to do around Rocca d’Orcia
Thanks to its central position inside the Val d’Orcia, from Rocca d’Orcia you can quickly reach all the main centres of the valley as San Quirico, Pienza, and Montalcino. If you want ot visit some castle more, you can consider to travel to Castiglione d’Orcia, and to the beautiful Rocca di Radicofani.
How to get to Rocca d’Orcia
By car: coming from Siena you have to take the Strada Regionale 2 Cassia till Bagno Vignoni; then continue on SP323 till destination.
If you are travelling from south trough the A1 highway, you have to take the exit Chiusi/Chianciano and continue on SP146 in direction of Chianciano Terme. From Chianciano, follow lì si devono follow signs for Castiglione d’Orcia which is 25 kilometres far away.
By bus: in Siena you can take the line 112 till San Quirico d’Orcia and then the line 52A till Castiglione d’Orcia; from there, a short walk (1 km) will take you to destination.