Roccalbegna, a village, two fortresses
Roccalbegna is in a hilly area south of the Monte Labbro, at the confluence of the rivers Albegna and Marlancione. The village is in a very particular position on a plane enclosed between two steep rocky cliffs at an altitude of 522 metres above sea level. On the top of these two rocks there are two medieval fortress dominating the village and the surrounding territory.
Roccalbegna was founded during the Middle Ages after the building fo the first fortress, the Rocca Aldobrandesca, that stand atop of the so called “Sasso“: an impressive rock spur pyramid-like shape which rises above the village. The second fortress, linked to the other trough a defensive wall, is the Cassero Senese; built by Siena in the opposite side of the village.
In the beginning Roccalbegna was controlled by the Aldobrandeschi then, at the end of the 13th century, the village became part of the Repubblica di Siena untill Florence conquered the entire region (16th century).
Over the years, the tall and spectacular Rock attracted more of a concern in the population due to some collapse and in fact around here they say: “se il sasso scrocca, addio alla Rocca” (if the rock creak, goodbye to the Rocca).
What to see in Roccalbegna
In Roccalbegna there are many points of interest. Immediately you will notice the already mentioned Sasso. Also colled “la Pietra“, This rock formation is the element that most distinguishes the panorama. On its top, the ancient Rocca Aldobrandesca, that in the past had to have especially sighting functions, is an excellent panoramic point of view on the entire valley of the Albegna.
In addition to the remains of the fortress, the town still preserves some parts of other defensive structures. The defensive walls (13th-14th centuries) are partially preserved as one of the city gates, the porta di Maremma, and two towers. Only a small building remains from Cassero, this structure is inside a beautiful public garden from which you can look out over the surrounding territory.
In the heart of the city centre the most interes monuments are the chiesa dei Santi Pietro e Paolo and the Oratorio del Santissimo Crocifisso. The chiesa dei Santi Pietro e Paolo was built at the end of the 13th century; originally romanesque, the church has a nice gothic portal and a big rose window on its facade. Inside there are three paintings, Madonna with Child, Saint Peter and Saint Paul, coming from a triptych by Ambrogio Lorenzetti (about 1340). The Oratorio del Santissimo Crocifisso (1388) houses the Museo di Roccalbegna, an art museum that among the various works include painted crucifix attributed to Luca di Tommè and some Francesco Nasini’s paintings.
Address: via del Crocifisso
Opening hours: 8.00-12.00 and 16.00-19.00. We advise you to call before visiting (tel: 0564-98912)
What to see around Roccalbegna
In Santa Caterina, 3 kilometres far from Roccalbegna, is the Museo della Focarazza, an etnographic museum focusing on the traditions, the work and the culture of this region with particular reference to everything related to the use of fire.
Opening hours: open on reservation (tel: 347-1915174 and 0564-965220)
Remaining in the municipal area of Roccalbegna, you can also visit the Castello di Triana and the village of Cana. Exiting from the municipal area, you can quickly get to Santa Fiora and Arcidosso on the Mount Amiata and to many towns of the tuscan Maremma as Saturnia and Scansano.