Castiglione d'Orcia, the medieval village
Imagine being a pilgrim and walking the via Francigena. In the middle of the Val d’Orcia, hungry and afraid, you stop to admire the mighty Rocca di Tentennano. It is a strategic outpost, which took on the functions of the Rocca Aldobrandesca because it was better positioned, which controlled the access of travelers from the Val d’Orcia towards Mount Amiata and the Maremma.
Castiglione d’Orcia is part of a territory full of history, in fact the Etruscans, the Romans, the noble families of the lands of Siena and Florence followed one another. In addition to its strategic importance, the medieval village is famous for being immersed in a landscape that has become a UNESCO heritage site, we are talking about the Val d’Orcia. There are magnificent 360 degree views. It will seem to the traveler to be part of a painting; surrounded by a cured nature that changes color with the seasons, but which is able to stimulate the imagination of each artist.
The village of Rocca d'Orcia
We begin our journey within the town and the adjacent village of Rocca d’Orcia, where the famous Rocca di Tentennano is actually located. The square, dedicated to the artist “Il Vecchietta”, is the most characteristic we can expect from a medieval village: irregular slabs and rough stones form the square, while a travertine well emerges in the center.
The village is a pearl set in travertine. There are glimpses and places where it really seems to go back in time. There are many sacred buildings built in the inhabited center: the church of the Giovanni Battista company, the church of Santa Maria Maddalena, the church of the Madonna di Manno and others. These are places in clear medieval style and in tone with the simplicity of the country.
One building to mention, without neglecting the others mentioned above, is the parish church of Santi Stefano e Degna. The facade retains part of the ancient Sienese splendor that had built it. Inside there are the frescoes of the “Enthroned Madonna with Child and Saints” by Giovanni di Bartolo and works by “Il Vecchietta“, now exhibited in the museum of Montalcino.
The town of Castiglione also has other uniqueness in its territory: the Rocca di Campiglia d’Orcia, the source and the Hermitage of the Vivo d’Orcia and the thermal waters of Bagni San Filippo to give examples.
The events in Castiglione d'Orcia
The ancient village of Castiglione also offers parties and moments of entertainment to be able to better enjoy what nature and history offer. Most of the events take place in the summer, this is also due to the greater tourism. “The festival of crostino and handmade pici”, in August, is certainly the most characteristic event for lovers of good food who pursue the ancient traditions and typical products of the place.
Music is the best companion if you find yourself immersed in nature. In the medieval town, in fact, it is also possible to attend some artistic events. The “Valdorcia Sound Festival” is a sought-after event that has gained some relevance over the years. The musical band “La Castigliana”, among the various events in which it participates during the year, plays a suggestive concert at the foot of the Rocca di Tentennano to announce the end of summer. The singing competition “Targa Vecchietta”, created in honor of the artist, rewards the best live artistic performances made in the village square.
But there is one night in particular that echoes among the others, it is the night of the glasses of stars. The party takes place on the night of San Lorenzo, where there are dinners, stands and shows. Wine is one of the protagonists since the best Doc wines are part of the “Orcia wine route” and, in Castiglione, some of the best are produced. The other protagonist is undoubtedly the sky, which will arouse emotions, admiring the countless falling stars in the night.
Now that the traveler is aware of the beauty, nature and culture he has witnessed, he can serenely continue his journey. The memories of a starry night, accompanied by an excellent glass of wine, at the foot of the majestic fortress, will always remain etched in his mind and accompany him towards the next adventure.