What to do in Monteriggioni in one day
Monteriggioni is a picturesque medieval village surrounded by its distinctive circular walls, which have remained virtually unchanged for centuries. This hilltop town has a rich history that dates back to the 13th century. Its cobbled streets, ancient architecture, and views of the surrounding countryside give visitors a glimpse of Italy’s past. With its well-preserved fortifications, quaint piazzas, and inviting local shops, Monteriggioni invites travelers to step back in time and immerse themselves in the allure of a bygone era while savoring the timeless beauty of Tuscany’s landscapes. This article serves as an ideal guide for those seeking to make the most of a single day in Monteriggioni, providing a curated itinerary to ensure a memorable and fulfilling experience in this captivating Tuscan village.
How to get to Monteriggioni
1. Plane to Monteriggioni
Fly into Bari or Brindisi airports, which have regular flights from the UK and Europe.
From Bari airport, you can travel to Monteriggioni by taking a train or renting a car.
2. Train to Monteriggioni
Monteriggioni does not have a train station within its immediate vicinity. However, you can use the train to get close to Monteriggioni and then take a bus or taxi to reach the village itself.
The closest major train stations to Monteriggioni are in Florence and Siena. From Florence’s main train station, Santa Maria Novella, you can take a train to Siena. Trains between Florence and Siena are frequent and the journey takes approximately 1.5 to 2 hours.
Once in Siena, you can take a bus from Siena to Monteriggioni. Buses run regularly between Siena and Monteriggioni, and the journey typically takes around 35 to 40 minutes.
3. Bus to Monteriggioni
Depart from the main Florence bus station (Autostazione Busitalia) near the Florence Santa Maria Novella train station. Some buses are direct, while others require a transfer in Poggibonsi or Fontebecci. Duration: 1.5 to 2 hours. After arriving at the traffic circle, walk about 10 minutes towards Monteriggioni.
Depart from the Siena-Via Tozzi stop. Ensure you catch a direct bus, taking around 35 to 40 minutes. Upon arrival at the traffic circle, follow the directions provided in the ‘By Bus’ section from Florence.
4. Car to Monteriggioni
From Siena: 21 km, 20 minutes
From San Gimignano: 28 km, 40 minutes
FromVolterra: 40 km, 50 minutes
From Florence: 65 km, 1 hour
What to do in Monteriggioni
Quick Facts about Monteriggioni
- Medieval Walled Town: Monteriggioni is a well-preserved medieval village in Tuscany, known for its perfectly circular walls that date back to the 13th century.
- Strategic Location: Positioned between Florence and Siena, Monteriggioni served as a defensive outpost in historic times, offering protection along the trade routes.
- Dante’s Mention: The town is famously referenced in Dante Alighieri’s “Divine Comedy,” where the walls are likened to giants in the ninth circle of Hell.
- Compact Size: Despite its historical significance, Monteriggioni is small, with its main attractions, including the church of Santa Maria Assunta, the defensive walls, and Piazza Roma, easily explored within a short visit.
- Charming Ambiance: Visitors can relish the ambiance of its central square, Piazza Roma, adorned with cafes, restaurants, and a stone fountain, providing an authentic taste of Tuscan life.
- Cultural Heritage: Monteriggioni hosts the Museo di Monteriggioni In Arme, exhibiting historical monuments and weaponry, offering insight into the town’s past.
- Walking Trails: The village is surrounded by scenic walking trails, allowing visitors to enjoy panoramic views of the Tuscan countryside and vineyards.
1. Walk on the Walls
Discover Monteriggioni’s charm by strolling along its medieval walls, offering panoramic views of the town and the Chianti region. There are two accessible sections: one near Porta Franca with a longer walkway and another near Porta San Giovanni with a shorter route.
Some parts of the walkways require payment for entry. Tower 1 is open for visits, but there’s a fee to access it via the South walkway. For the northern route, starting between towers 7 and 8 at Porta Fiorentina, an additional ticket is necessary to proceed.
Beyond Tower 9, further access isn’t feasible as these areas are either private or restricted. Tower 13 features a walled door that historically provided entry to the walled city. While walking along the walls, enjoy breathtaking views overlooking Montagnola Senese and Chianti.
Opening Hours And Ticket Price
Until January 7th: daily from 10 am to 1:30 pm and from 2 pm to 4:30 pm.
From January 8th to January 18th, the attraction will be closed.
Starting from January 19th to February 29th, the site will be open on Fridays through Mondays, operating from 10 am to 1:30 pm and from 2 pm to 4:30 pm.
During the closure periods, the attraction can be opened upon request for groups exceeding 15 individuals by contacting [email protected].
Admission for a combined ticket granting access to the walkways along the walls, the “Monteriggioni in Arms” Museum, and the M.A.M (Archaeological Museum Monteriggioni) is priced as follows:
standard ticket: 5.00 euros, reduced ticket: 3.50 euros, free entry: Children under 8 years old
2. Visit the Medieval Museum “Monteriggioni in Arms”
The primary museum in Monteriggioni is the Museo di Monteriggioni In Arme, showcasing all the historical landmarks within the walled city. It exhibits various models illustrating siege tactics, battles, and the weaponry utilized. Visitors not only get to see these weapons but also have the opportunity to handle them, providing an extraordinary cultural immersion into the ancient local customs and traditions of this Tuscan town.
3. The Gates: Porta Franca
The Gates, also known as Porta Romea, mark the town’s entrance. Positioned facing Rome, it features a sizable tower with a pointed arch. There likely existed a drawbridge here in the past, although no remnants of it remain today. Notably, on the left side, visitors can admire the inscription marking the town’s foundation.
On the opposite side stands Porta di Ponente, facing Florence, embellished with verses from Dante’s work. Although the Walled Gate, known as Porta Murata, is inaccessible today, it, alongside the other two gates, historically served as an entry point to the walled city.
4. Piazza Roma
The vibrant hub of Monteriggioni’s ancient town is embodied by Piazza Roma. This charming square exudes a picturesque allure, hosting a collection of excellent restaurants and inviting cafes where visitors can relish the lively atmosphere. At the square’s focal point lies a quaint stone fountain, often frequented by visitors seeking memorable photo opportunities.
5. Church Santa Maria Assunta
The charming Santa Maria Assunta church, dating back to the 13th century, stands as one of Monteriggioni’s most exquisite attractions. Situated in the town’s central square, Piazza Roma, the church’s facade remains in its original form. Its rich history intertwines closely with that of Monteriggioni, constructed during the castle’s founding year. As one of the village’s oldest landmarks, alongside the formidable defensive wall, this historic church holds significant historical relevance. The construction of the bell tower took place much later, specifically at the conclusion of the 18th century.
6. Take a leisurely walk
Exploring the streets of Monteriggioni offers a delightful experience, inviting visitors to leisurely wander and uncover the town’s charm. Among these picturesque pathways, Via I Maggio stands out as a focal point, gracefully cutting through the center. A brief 5-minute stroll along this particular street reveals the essence of Monteriggioni’s allure. Adorned with characterful buildings, it hosts an array of inviting shops showcasing local crafts and specialties, contributing to the town’s unique ambiance. Noteworthy sights along Via I Maggio include the striking Chiesa di Santa Maria Assunta, an architectural gem enhancing the town’s historical appeal.
What to eat and where
In Monteriggioni, an assortment of superb restaurants and wine bars await, inviting food and wine enthusiasts to savor Tuscan flavors through diverse culinary journeys and tours, al fresco picnics, and local specialties. Indulge in the must-try local dishes such as Agro e dolce—a delightful blend of sugar and lemon, pork steak accompanied by turnips, tripe thistles, stuffed onions, wild boar offal, Maremma pancrocino, fried pasta, pici with briciolata sauce, Mugello-style tomatoes, sausages, and cabbage soup.
Moreover, numerous farms and wineries in the vicinity offer an array of food and wine tastings, allowing visitors to relish an array of flavors. Being situated in the heart of Tuscany, the area boasts incredible wine production that should not be missed.
Recommended: Cantinetta di Monteriggioni, Terra Di Siena Di Viligiardi Francesco and Casa Vinicola Bartali, which produces incredible Brunello, Chianti, Vernaccia and Vecchia Corona wines.
Is Monteriggioni worth it?
Absolutely! Monteriggioni is a gem worth exploring, especially if your itinerary includes nearby towns like Siena, Volterra, and San Gimignano. Its compact size and well-preserved medieval charm make it a delightful addition to any Tuscany itinerary. Whether you’re captivated by historical architecture, panoramic views of the Tuscan countryside, or seeking authentic culinary experiences, Monteriggioni offers a unique glimpse into the region’s rich heritage. Its strategic location between these renowned destinations makes it a convenient and enriching stop, providing a serene yet culturally enriching experience amidst the Tuscan landscape.
What else can i do in Monteriggioni?
For enthusiasts of sports and outdoor pursuits, hiking the adjacent hills and arranging mountain biking expeditions offer opportunities to admire stunning elevated vistas.
Nearby, you’ll uncover the Hermitage of San Leonardo al Lago near Santa Colomba. Dating back to 1119, this Augustinian hermitage boasts numerous characteristic frescoes within.
The Pieve di Santa Maria a Castello stands as a significant symbol of Siena’s history and property disputes with the Catholic Church. Restored in the 19th century due to increased local population, it has gradually fallen into disuse. Today, it’s part of an agritourism site, featuring modern updates yet preserving the intriguing Baptistery of St. John the Baptist.
When should i visit Monteriggioni?
The best time to explore the town is during spring and summer, especially for hiking enthusiasts seeking pleasant weather. Autumn holds its own charm, offering a chance to witness the vibrant transformation of nature’s colors while surrounded by the woodland scenery.
Where can I park for free in Monteriggioni?
At the base of the hill, there’s a complimentary parking area available. Ascend the slight incline toward the village using either the Franca or Romea Gate.
How much time do i need in Monteriggioni?
Typically, visitors spend around 2 to 4 hours exploring the main attractions, including walking the walls, visiting the church, enjoying the town square, and experiencing some local eateries.
However, if you’re interested in a more in-depth exploration, including visiting nearby sites, taking longer hikes, or engaging in wine tastings or cultural tours, you might consider extending your stay to a full day.