Sarteano, the town and the castle
Sarteano is a town of etruscan origin with a medieval past evidenced by its walls. Situated on an outcrop of rock at 573 meters above sea level, the village lies close to the Manenti ‘s feudal fortress following to a characteristic arch form.
The castle was build on the road beween Chiusi and Siena. When, in 1379, Sarteano passed under the dominion of the Republic of Siena, the town and the castle were reorganized within a single fortified perimeter. The Sienese endowed the castle of imposing square donjon which was added to the existing defense system based on subsequent walls with round corner towers.
What to do in Sarteano: complete guide
The visit of Sarteano starts from Piazza Bargagli, or Piazza Bassa, located in the southern part of the historical centre. On the South side of the square overlooking the Church of San Francesco. This church, founded in the first half of the 14th century, has a nice renaissance facade in travertine and inside has some frescoes from the Church of Santa Vittoria dated between XIV and XV century.
From Piazza Bargagli we proceed towards the town’s main square, Piazza XXIV giugno (or piazza Alta), that is connected to the previous square also by a passage (porta di Mezzo) opened in the body of the Palazzo del Comune. Palazzo del Comune (the town hall) is a 14th century building rebuilt on several occasions and opened by a high porch. Inside this palace there is the Teatro comunale degli Arrischianti (a theatre).
Piazza Alta, adorned by the Monument to the dead of the first world war, is located half of the main axis of the town composed by via Roma and corso Garibaldi. Along these roads we can find many of the most interesting buildings of the city.
Walking through via Roma we meet, one in front of the other, the renaissance Palazzo Piccolomini and Palazzo Gabrielli, location of the Civic Archaeological Museum.
Continuing until the end of the road, we pass under an arch and we get to Piazza San Martino, where the Church of San Martino. The church, built in neoclassical form, was erected here in 1841 in place of the previous romanesque church of San Martino in Foro.
The other branch of the main axis, corso Garibaldi, was the location of the Giostra del Saracino until the 1755. Immediately on the right we find the palace Goti-Fanelli, where in the past was the Accademia degli Arrischianti. Continuing along the road we meet other noble palaces such as palazzo Sisti-Berdini and palazzo Cospi-Forneris.
Just beyond, on the left, there is the Collegiate church of San Lorenzo. The church, built in the beginning of 13th century, was restored in late-renaissance forms during the 16th century. At the end of Corso Garibaldi we get to the city gate for Siena: Porta Monalda.
In the beginning the fortress of Sarteano belonged to the counts Manenti. During the 14th century became a possession of Siena that reinforced its defensive structures. In the sixteenth century the castle passed under the control of the Granducato di Toscana until it was donated to the counts Fanelli. Finally, in 1998, the municipality of Sarteano decided to buy the castle to restore it and allow the visit.
Since 2006 the fortress is open to the public.
From the castle you can enjoy a wide panorama on the surrounding area.
15 April – June: every day except monday 10,30-13,00 and 15,00-19,00
July – August: every day except monday 10,30-19,00
September: every day except monday 10,30-13,00 and 15,00-19,00
October – 14 April: holydays and the day before 10,30-13,00 and 15,00-17,00
Christmas holydays: every day (except Christmas and the morning of 1st of january) 10,30-13,00 and 15,00-17,00
Tickets: Regular 4 euro; reduced 3 euro; schools 2 euro
Civic Archaeological Museum of Sarteano
The Civic Archaeological Museum preserve many artifacts from the Etruscan necropolis in the area and some testimonials from Roman times.
Particularly interesting is the section of the Necropoli delle Pianacce with the reconstruction of Tomb of the Quadriga Infernale dated 4th century before Christ.
April – October: every day except monday 10,30-12,30 and 16,00-19,00
November – March: holydays and the day before 10,30-12,30 and 16,00-19,00
Christmas holydays: every day (except Christmas and the morning of 1st of january) 10,30-12,30 and 16,00-19,00
Regular 4 euro; reduced 3 euro
Museum + Tomb of the Quadriga Infernale (with a guided tour to the grave) regular 8 euro; reduced 6 euro
School (with guided tour) 3 euro
School (with guided tour) Museum + Tomb 5 euro
Groups (15 or more people) with a guided tour to the Museum 7 euro
Groups (15 or more people) with a guided tour to the Museum + Tomb 10 euro
Official website of the Archaeologiacl Museum
Sala d’arte Domenico Beccafumi – Church of San Martino
The Church of San Martino hosts some paintings coming from the ancient church of S. Martino in Foro and a collection of artworks and sacred vests, dated between the 14th and 18th century, coming from the churches of Sarteano. All of this artworks compose the Sala d’arte Domenico Beccafumi.
October – May: saturday-sunday 10,30-12,30 and 16-18
June and September: friday-sunday 10,30-12,30 and 16-18
July- August: every day except monday 10,30-12,30 and 16-18
Tickets: regular 3 euro
Castle + Archaeological Museum: 6 euro
Castle + Archaeological Museum + Sala d’Arte: 8 euro
Castle + Archaeological Museum + Tomb of the Quadriga Infernale: 10 euro
Castle + Archaeological Museum + Sala d’Arte Domenico Beccafumi + Tomb of the Quadriga Infernale 12 euro
Museo dei Presepi dal Mondo
The Museum houses a collection of Nativity scenes, some of which are handmade, from all over the world
Opening hours: every day 17.00-18.00
Address: via Ricasoli 39-41
For a visit, please contact mr. Rappuoli at this phone number 333 6186737.
Farmacia storica (historical pharmacy)
Located in Piazza XXIV giugno, is visited by appointment by contacting mr. Rappuoli (phone number 333 6186737).
Events in Sarteano
Crafts and antiques markets: third sunday every month from may to september
Extraordinary Giostra del Saracino: it takes place at night at Località Piano di Mengole during the second week end of July
Civitas Infernalis: medieval fantasy festival in the last weekend of july
Sarteano jazz: august
Fiera di San Lorenzo: 10 of august
Giostra del Saracino: 15 of august
(via Ricasoli 43)
Fiera di San Martino: 11 of november
How to get to Sarteano
By train: The nearest train station is Chiusi. From there you can take a bus (number FT5) of the company Tiemme.
By car: From Florence or Rome, take the A1 and exit at Chiusi-Chianciano; from there continue on strada provinciale SP478 for about 6-7 kilometres.
What to do near Sarteano
In addition to the aforementioned Necropoli delle Pianacce, near Sarteano we report the spa town of Chianciano Terme and the ancient Chiusi.
You can also quickly reach the Val d’Orcia from Sarteano going west, or Montepulciano moving northward.
Are part of the municipality of Sarteano also the two medievaltowns of Fonte Vetriana and Castiglioncello del Trinoro.
Fonte Vetriana is inhabited since the bronze age. Ideal for nature lovers, is an excellent starting point for hiking ormountain bike to the top of the Monte Cetona.
Castiglioncello del Trinoro is a natural terrace on the Val d’Orcia. The village has a romanesque church dedicated to Saint Andrew and once had a castle whose ruins are back to light after some excavations.
We want to thanks the Tourist Office of the municipality of Sarteano for the information he gave us for writing the article.
For more information please contact the Tourist Office (firstname.lastname@example.org – 0578 269204) and the Pro Loco of Sarteano (email@example.com)