San Giovanni d'Asso
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Located at the top of a hill, by whose slopes run the torrent of the Asso River and impended over by an ancient castle, the populated centre of San Giovanni d'Asso is the chief town of a municipal territory which includes the hamlets of Montisi, Lucignano d'Asso, Monterongriffoli, Vergelle and Pieve a Salti. It was the seat, at the beginning of its history, of rural Etruscan settlements, a place contested by the Bishop of Arezzo and by the Bishop of Siena and sacked by Ghibellines in 1315. San Giovanni d'Asso assumed a more precise definition of its municipal boundaries with the General Regulation of the Grand Duke of Tuscany on 2nd June 1777.
The Castle is located in the higher part of town, called "Borghetto", whose origins date back to the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries from designs by Agostino and Agnolo di Ventura, Sienese architects. In the month of November, the Castle hosts the famous White Truffle Market Exhibit. The church of San Giovanni Battista is also remarkable and, in the lower part of the town, adorned by cypresses, San Pietro in Villore is without a doubt the most important church of the area. Within the municipal territory rises the picturesque village of Montisi, with its Chiesa dell'Annunziata and its historical grain tower. Here, every year, on the Sunday nearest the 5th of August (the festival of the Madonna delle Nevi, the patron saint of Montisi) the joust "Giostra di Simone" is held. Montelifre Castle is also important, while at Pava the historical parish church is significant. Among the agricultural products, the white truffle is precious and famous throughout Italy, but this land also offers good wines, excellent oil and savoury cheeses.
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