Moving away a few kilometers from Mount Amiata and plunging into the splendid setting of the Val d’Orcia, the Fortress di Montalcino is definitely worth a visit.
Built around 1300, incorporating the ancient city walls, the history of the Rocca is closely connected with the Abbey of Sant ‘Antimo first, and with the wars that saw Siena and Florence as protagonists then. Founded as a military defense castle, given its strategic position on the Via Francigena which ran along the nearby Torrenieri, the fortress is now substantially intact.
The Rocca follows the typical construction of a medieval defensive castle: a pentagonal plant surrounded by towers at all angles, walls equipped with walkways that originally served for the patrol and a good part of the battlements still visible. The fortress also incorporated an ancient basilica, which later became a chapel and whose remains are still visible today.
The tour starts from the Porta del Cassero: a ramp leads to a large space surrounded by walls and towers. One of the bastions visible from here was added by Cosimo de’Medici around 1500. Near the walls, in the north-west part, is the chapel of which we spoke earlier. Many small armories are also visible, to witness the defensive function that the Rocca has had over time. From the main tower, that of the keep, one of the few that has probably undergone restoration over time, through an internal staircase you can see some ancient halls and the walkway entirely viable. The inner courtyard, which is also a supporting element of the ancient medieval castles, is today used for outdoor shows and is also the site of a wine shop where you can relax after visiting, tasting the product par excellence of Montalcino.
In front of the entrance door of the Fortress, a visit certainly deserves also the bastion of San Giovanni, built around 1559 to reinforce the castle in one of its weakest points. After several centuries of neglect, the bastion was subjected to an impressive restoration work around 1930.
The large internal garden can be visited free of charge. The walkway on the walls, overlooking the beautiful Val d’Orcia, costs 4 euros.
La Rocca is open every day except Monday, from March to October from 9:00 to 20:00. During the other months the times are from 10:00 to 13:00 and from 14:00 to 18:00. For more information, please contact the number +39.0577 849211.