Castell'Azzara

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The ancient Castellum Lazzeri, according to the testament deeds of the Aldobrandeschi in 1216, derives its name from the "zara" game, meaning a game of dice which the three Aldobrandeschi descendents used to decide over their property. Already a feud of the Basques, it later fell under the rule of the Sforza with its entire territory, remaining a moderately small center (even though it was the second town of the Santa Fiora country, with its own Statute; there is evidence of a copy dating back to the XVI century) till the development of the mine industry which led it to its considerable expansion.
The stone boundary wall can still be singled out, even though by now it has been incorporated by homes: there is still a stone arch gate south-east, followed by a vault passage which is bored by a well in the center and to the west, a rectangular tower with crenellation (the coat of arms shows three towers). The church of San Nicola holds a seventeenth century painting of the Sienese school, depicting the Virgin, Mary with saints Martino and NicolÚ, while the small church of the oratory holds a canvas depicting the Madonna del Rosario and saints Domenico and Caterina da Siena, also of the seventeenth century Sienese school. The alleys run into one another and often are dedicated to writers and poets. Placed at the foot of Monte Civitella (which can be easily climbed starting from the Cave and by following the Anello paths) the village dominates the Paglia valley (in the distance the Apennines can be seen) and is the highest (about 800 m altitude) of the entire Amiata district.
Selvena is renown for the imposing ruins of the Rocca Silvana which dominate the Morone mine area. The ancient castle (the most ancient account dates back to 1081) rose in a strategic position over a hill with a sheer drop to the Valle del Fiora, and bordered with the estates of the Sovana and Santa Fiora counts, in an area which already in 1216 was important for its silver mining resources, according to the testament deeds of the Aldobrandeschi family. Its strategic importance is confirmed by the choice made by the imperial troops of Frederick II, commanded by Pandolfo da Fasanella, who chose it as their operative base against Sovana (1241).

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