Not far from Monte Amiata, about 30 kilometers away, in the middle of the Val d’Orcia, the fortress of Tentennano, in the town of Castiglione d’Orcia, is certainly worth seeing.
The fortress, which rises on a rocky spur, has origins that date back to the year 850 and for centuries was one of the most strategic points of control of the Via Francigena.
While still externally maintaining the features of the restoration dated 1250 and commissioned by the Republic of Siena, at that time owner of the fortress, little remains instead of the interior of the Rocca. It is possible to follow the walkway used by the sentinels for the patrol, which in ancient times led to the heart of the stronghold, the Cassero. The latter was a pentagonal area enclosed by mighty walls, of which the remains can still be seen today. From the walkway, through an arched door one reaches the Torrione, whose original access was through a mobile wooden staircase, which was withdrawn in case of danger. Even this staircase has been lost to date, but inside the Tower we find two floors that can be visited, with really interesting barrel vaults. From the lower room you arrive in a room where there is a cistern that was used to guarantee water supply and an oven, both of which testify to the fundamental functions of the Torrione: sighting, defensive bulwark and lodgings for sentinels. From here, through a steep iron staircase, you come to a terrace: at this point, take a moment and enjoy the wonderful panorama that stretches from Monte Amiata to Val d’Orcia!
Still inside the Rocca, in the hall of the homonymous brotherhood, a visit certainly deserves the San Giovanni Hall of Art. Here you will find exhibited and preserved a series of paintings executed for Castiglione d’Orcia by some exponents of the Sienese school in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Among others, we remember the paintings of Simone Martini, Vecchietta, and Giovanni di Paolo. In addition to the paintings, the room includes a series of liturgical furnishings from churches in the area
Info and schedules
The San Giovanni Art Room is open only on Saturdays and Sundays from 16:00 to 18:00.
The fortress of Tentennano can be visited every day from 10:30 to 13:30 and from 14:30 to 18:30. The ticket price for the Rocca and for the Sala is 3 euros.
However, we recommend that you contact this number for real-time information and schedules: 349 2868318.
Finally, we advise those who want to visit the Rocca to wear closed and comfortable shoes, so as to be able to tackle the route at its best, absolutely safe but in some places a little rough.