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SAN GIMIGNANO: The foundation of San Gimignano is linked to the legend that says that in 63 BC the two brothers Silvio and Muzio, young men, fled from Rome because accomplices of Catiline, sought refuge in Val d’Elsa and built two castles to Pile and to Silvia, future San Gimignano.
The first historical document that shows the name of the city is dated 30 August 929 when Hugh of Provence gives the bishop of Volterra, the hill called the Tower “prope Sancto Geminiano adjacent.” It is likely that the name San Gimignano is derived from the name of the Bishop of Modena. Legend has it that the saint during the barbarian invasions, saved the city from the threat of Totila, appearing miraculously on the walls.
Anywhere you arrive, San Gimignano rises on a hill, 334 meters high, with its towers. Even today it contantiamo thirteen. It is said that in the fourteenth century there were seventy-two, at least one for every wealthy family, so that they could demonstrate the construction of a tower, their economic power.
The first towers are born isolated, all the buildings were small, typically one meter by two, there were few openings, while the thickness of the wall, about two meters, guaranteed cool in summer and warm in winter. The tower was the highest symbol of power, especially for the fact that the constructive process was certainly not easy or economical. Only the wealthiest families, devoted activity mercantile and usurious, could afford.
The house did not extend for the entire height of the tower. On the ground floor were shops on the first floor rooms and, higher up, the kitchen. The environment was following the most elementary rules of safety. The kitchen, where lights usually fire, was the highest settlement plan, in order to escape from the tower in case of fire.
VOLTERRA: City of Etruscan and medieval Volterra is located in a strategic position at the confluence of the Val di Cecina and Val d’Era, a few kilometers from the Tyrrhenian coast and about an hour drive from the Chianti region.
Rooted in 3000 years of history and every time you can find evidence and traces that have helped make it unique in the world.
The history of Volterra along the various stages can be divided into four periods.
Roman Etruscan period: after the first settlements dating to the Neolithic period, in the seventh century BC The Etruscans gave birth to the city of “Velathri”, the original name of today Volterra, which expanded from the Tyrrhenian coast of Populonia, including the island of Elba and Corsica, to the mouth of the Magra in Lunigiana.
Around the third century BC the city became a Roman rule that usufruì a strategic base for the maritime ports of the Tyrrhenian Sea, the wealth of mineral resources (metalliferous hills) and the natural vocation of farming population.
During the growing power of Rome (260 BC), Volterra became part of the Confederation Italica.
Middle Ages as a result of the barbarian invasions began the darkest period for the city that had lasted until the twelfth century, when it declared a free town, regaining its independence. Volterra remained independent and autonomous until 1472, when he took the “Sack” by the militias of Lorenzo the Magnificent, who sacked the entire city conquering it permanently.
During the Renaissance period, under the domination of Florence, the architectural structures of the city conformed to the style of the period and underwent numerous transformations. Despite various attempts to regain freedom, Volterra was under the influence of Florence until the eighteenth century, maintaining a state of decline in terms of trade, because even the alabaster, recovery by the mid-sixteenth century, was purely artistic purposes.
At the end of the eighteenth century in Volterra were recorded remarkable shooting in agriculture and marketing of alabaster, improvements in the road system promoted the development of mining rock salt, alabaster, copper and alum, is still of great importance, along with tourism in its economy. “
MONTERIGGIONI: Monteriggioni, known Italian walled village, is constituted by walls intact covering a length of 570 meters, by 14 towers and two doors.
The town was built by the Sienese between 1213 and 1219 to monitor the Via Cassia / Francigena. The hill on which the fort was built is natural.
Recently, a portion of the trench walls was made accessible and can be visited. Above the defensive walls you can admire the beautiful countryside of Chianti and Val d’Elsa.
Monteriggioni is home to the annual medieval festival “Monteriggioni is crowned with towers” in the month of July. In the charming village banks are set up with items and food flavor Medieval, shows masked and the traditional falconry show.
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