Pari, an ancient castle between Grosseto and Siena
Pari is a very suggestive village located halfway between Siena and Grosseto, practically on the border of the two provinces, where the Farma river flows, a tributary of the Merse. The village is located in a beautiful hilly position at an altitude of 377 meters above sea level. In front of the town stands the silhouette of nearby Monte Amiata, an ancient extinct volcano which today is a destination for mountain and ski lovers in winter as well as for lovers of relaxation in summer. Because of its position, Pari is considered as the beginning of the Maremma, even if it would be more correct to indicate the beginning of the Maremma in the Paganico area.
The area in which Pari stands has been inhabited since the Palaeolithic period, and even on its hill some finds have been found which document the presence of a prehistoric village. This attendance also continued in Etruscan and Roman times even if the foundation of the current center probably dates back to the Middle Ages.
In medieval times, Pari was the castle and residence of the Ardenghesca counts. Its origins seem to date back to the 11th century. At the beginning of the 13th century, Pari became the property of the Republic of Siena, which took it from the Counts of Ardenghesca. In the following centuries it became the domain of some Sienese families. In the 16th century, it passed to the Grand Duchy of Tuscany like the whole surrounding area. Pari was also an independent municipality starting from the Napoleonic era but in 1926 it was included in the municipality of Paganico (which later became Civitella Paganico).
What to see in Pari
The town has medieval origins and has kept the ancient urban structure. The structure of the village is oval, imitating the remains of the ancient city walls. In particular, few remains of the two entrance gates to the village can be identified: Porta Senese and Porta Grossetana. The castle is full of houses and surrounded by walls.
At the highest point of the town, where the stronghold of the ancient castle was located, is the so-called Palazzo di Giustizia. This building may have been the seat of the Podestà. This is probable because until 1838 Castello di Pari was used as the residence of the Podestà. The basement has traces of a prison. The building was renovated after the Second World War and was used as a school for many years.
Chiesa di San Biagio
The most important religious building in Pari is the Chiesa di San Biagio, which dates back to the Middle Ages but underwent major changes in the 19th century after having already seen a restoration during the 15th century. Inside there are three artworks: the Madonna between Saints Peter and John the Baptist, the Madonna with child and saints and the Madonna del Buon Consiglio, which is a modern copy of a seventeenth-century painting.
Oratorio di Santa Croce
The Oratorio di Santa Croce is located right next to the church of San Biagio, on its left. Documented since 1548, this oratory is most likely from the Renaissance period. Like the nearby church, the oratory also has a very simple facade with no particular decorations. Inside there is a fifteenth-century painting, Madonna and Child between Saints Fabiano and Sebastiano, created by Marco Bigio, a pupil of Sodoma.
What to see and what to do around Pari
Near Pari are the Terme di Petriolo which have been known since Roman times but perhaps the Etruscans also frequented them. At the beginning of the fifteenth century, the first thermal establishment was built here and since then the activity of the thermal baths has continued up to the present day. From Pari you can reach other interesting historic villages quite quickly, such as Roccastrada and Montemassi. Also not to be excluded is the possibility of going on excursions to Monte Amiata and Val d’Orcia, where there are a thousand things to do and see.
In and around Pari there are some festivals and events centered around the culinary delicacies of this area. In September Pari hosts the Sagra della Salsiccia which has now become a very renowned event and a tradition that has been going on for many years. In the nearby village of Casale di Pari, however, the Sagra del Porcino takes place, which usually takes place between September and October.
How to get to Pari
Pari is not served by trains but can be reached by bus even if it is certainly not the most comfortable solution. From both Siena and Grosseto you will almost certainly have to take two buses to get to Pari.
By car, the best way to reach the village of Pari is using the SS223 state road that connects Siena and Grosseto.