Radicofani

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Val d'Orcia
World Heritage Site UNESCO


From the fortress, constructed on top of an enormous mass of basaltic rock, the view sweeps over an unforgettable panorama which stretches from the Amiata mountain towards the region of Lazio (where the lake of Bolsena is visible), the Chiana Valley, the Orcia Valley and the lake of Trasimeno, the region of Umbria and, on clearer days, the Central Appenine chain of mountains. The fortress, the presence of which is documented as early as 978, was enlarged in the 1200's, rebuilt in the second half of the 1500's, then destroyed by an incident of arson in 1735. In modern times, the small forts and the quadrangular keep have been reconstructed with the restoration work finishing in 1997. Radicofani is linked to the historical and legendary figure of Ghino di Tacco, exiled from Siena, who, at the end of the XIIth century, took possession of the castle.
With swift and unexpected sallies, he stripped passing merchants and pilgrims travelling along the nearby Via Francigena of their riches and belongings. Property of the monks of the Abbey of SS. Salvatore, it then passed under the control of the Papal State, and so under the Republic of Siena and subsequently under the Medicis. As well as the Fortress, the village is also worth a visit. The most outstanding monument is the XIIth century Romanesque Church of San Pietro (Saint Peter) which preserves a splendid collection of della Robbia terra-cottas and a wooden statue of the "Madonna del Castello" (Madonna of the Castle) by Francesco di Valdambrino. Remember also to have a look at the palazzo Pretorio (Magisterial building) which is now the Town Hall: on its faade, there are coats of arms in travertine stone of the Podesta of the Republic of Siena.
Close to the village, along the old Via Cassia road, you may find the Palazzo della Posta, a beautiful Medici villa which was originally a hunting lodge. 13 kilometres away, along the road which leads to Chianciano Terme, following the ridge between the Orcia and Formone rivers, you will come across the ancient village of Contignano; this was once property of the Salimbeni, and its medieval layout has remained intact, complete with its castle surrounded by the remains of ancient forts.


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