With only 42 inhabitants, Monteriggioni is a small but well-known town in Tuscany, Italy. Situated on a hilltop in between Siena and Firenze, Monteriggioni is known worldwide for its medieval fortress, lookout towers and stunning panoramic views sprinkled with vineyards and olive trees. Prominent since the 12th century for its sturdy walls and 14 towers, which are still intact today, Monteriggioni has one of the best-preserved military walls in the world. Since this charming village can be easily visited in half a day, it’s definitely worth the stop.
How to get to Monteriggioni
Monteriggioni is an enchanting town located in the Siena province of Tuscany. Situated only 25 minutes from Siena and 50 minutes from Florence by car, Monteriggioni makes for a great day trip.
Monteriggioni is also fairly easy to reach by public transportation. If you’re coming from Florence, the trip will take around an hour and 45 minutes each way. Starting from the Santa Maria Novella bus station, you’ll take bus 131 to Poggibonsi then switch to bus 130 to reach Monteriggioni. On the other hand, if you’re coming from Siena, it’s a 40-minute trip each way to get to Monteriggioni. From Siena, visitors can catch the 130 or 136 bus and get off at the Monteriggioni Scuole stop.
Situated along the Via Francigena, many travelers also visit Monteriggioni on foot. Only 34 miles from Florence, it takes around 12 hours to arrive in Monteriggioni via the Via Francigena.
Top 4 Places to Visit in Monteriggioni, Italy
1. The Castle of Monteriggioni and the Walls Surrounding the Town
Originally created by the Republic of Siena as a defense post against rivals, the town of Monteriggioni was constructed as a fortress that is now famous for being one of the best-preserved military structures in the world. Built to serve as a defense against its main enemy, Florence, the sturdy construction of the Castle of Monteriggioni successfully repelled many attacks and ambushes over the centuries. Furthermore, the well-known Italian poet, Dante Alighieri, is noted for putting this tiny town on the map as he loved to admire the 570-meter-long and two-meter-wide stone walls that were constructed between 1212 and 1219.
Featuring two grand entrances into the castle, Porta Franca (facing Siena) and Porta San Giovanni (facing Florence), and 14 still-standing towers, this fort was strategically placed between the two provinces and fought over from its creation until it was annexed to Florence in the 16th century. Standing a full 15 feet off the ground, in battle, the owners would fill the moat with coal that they’d set on fire during attacks.
2. The Church of Santa Maria Assunta
Overlooking the main square in Monteriggioni, the Church of Santa Maria Assunta merits a visit. Built in 1213 when the town was founded, the exterior of the church has a gate with a stone arch and a circular opening. The interior is only one room but not to be skipped as it contains a treasured painting from the 17th century of the Madonna and Rosary that the town celebrates every October.
3. The Museum of Weapons and Armor
It should come as no surprise that one of Monteriggioni’s most popular places to visit revolves around the town’s ability to defend itself. Hosting armory and weapons from medieval and Renaissance periods, each room in the Museum of Weapons and Armor features pieces from significant moments in Monteriggioni’s history. From models showing various strategic defense techniques to being able to touch and try on medieval relics, you’re in for an experience that’ll tingle all five senses.
4. The Roma Square
Bordered by the protective city walls, the historical center in Monteriggioni is quite small and easy to visit in just a few hours. Featuring a medieval church, the Museum of Weapons and Armor, and an ancient well all constructed in the 13th century, Piazza Romana is the main square in Monteriggioni. The bell tower was built in the 18th century and is the newest addition to the main square. Visitors can enjoy a glass of wine at the local eateries, go shopping in the narrow medieval streets or walk along the famous Via Francigena, an ancient path that guides travelers by foot from Canterbury, England to Rome, Italy.
The Best Hotels to Stay in Monteriggioni, Tuscany
Relais Castel Bigozzi
Surrounded by the Tuscan countryside and located five minutes by car from Monteriggioni, Relais Castel Bigozzi offers true peace and relaxation. Located in a medieval castle from 1000, this four-star hotel and spa has everything you need to unwind. Featuring an outdoor pool, free walking tours of the Via Francigena, rustic rooms with exposed wood beams and a homemade breakfast, this is the perfect haven from everyday life.
Borgo dé Brandi
Located minutes from the heart of Monteriggioni, Borgo de Brandi is a stylish resort set in a former monastery. Offering an array of culinary classes and tastings, an outdoor pool with panoramic views, free bikes to explore the area, and a full spa with massages, this resort makes for an intimate weekend getaway.
Rich with history, panoramic views and delicate Tuscan wine, this relaxing resort is located inside a medieval castle known for defending the area. This castle from the 17th century is fitted with rooms and furnishings reflecting the same time period. Offering horseback riding, walking and biking tours and restaurants all within a stone’s throw, this agriturismo is a paradise in the Tuscany hillside.
A Special Event: the Medieval Festival
With the goal of honoring heritage and bringing visitors to Monteriggioni, this lively festival is centered around music, dance and local artisans. Known as one of the most ancient celebrations in medieval Italy, the festival lasts two weeks and is normally at the beginning of July. Historically, Dante Aligheri, the well-known Italian poet, made the Medieval Festival in Monteriggioni an event to attend in the summer. Visitors can find locals dressed up as medieval nobles, knights, elegant women and soldiers, and can participate in a variety of medieval games, dances and celebrations that reflect the time period.
The Town of Assassin’s Creed 2
If you’re a fan of the video game Assassin’s Creed, you’ll definitely remember the sturdy ancient walls of the Castle of Monteriggioini. The setting of several of Ezio Auditore’s victories, the fortress in Monteriggioni resisted many attacks from the Florentines yet remained well intact over the years. Assassin’s Creed lovers will also note the similarities between the Museum of Weapons and Armor and the armory in Ezra’s villa. If you want to experience the game in real life, make sure to add Monteriggioni to your itinerary.
Restaurants in Monteriggioni – Our Top 3 Selection
Trattoria del Forno“daItalo&Co.”
Offering authentic specialties for anyone wanting a real taste of Tuscany, Trattoria del Forno makes mouth-watering Florentine steaks according to ancient Renaissance traditions. The restaurant is located in a warm, traditional setting and offers a dining experience to remember. Click here to reserve a table or view the menu: Check now the menu!
Osteria Antico Travaglio
Located inside the ancient fortress walls, this restaurant honors its position by serving local Tuscan delicacies, such as hand-rolled pasta, the famous Florentine steak, Tuscan wine and cheese from the area, and even handmade gelato. Offering a calm and relaxing setting and an internal garden, guests can truly sit back, relax and enjoy the traditional Tuscan cuisine here. Click here to take a look at the menu or reserve a table: Check now the menu!
Ristorante Il Feudo
Boasting a hybrid menu between tradition and innovation, this restaurant located in San Gimignano features a twist on traditional Tuscan dishes. Based inside a cozy agriturismo, diners will be able to enjoy unique cuisine that they’ll remember forever. Click here to reserve a table or view the menu: Check now the menu!
What to See Nearby Monteriggioni, Italy
Originally founded as a rest stop along the Via Francigena, San Gimignano has become a popular stop for tourists in Tuscany. Located only 30 minutes from Monteriggioni, this panoramic town hosts 14 medieval towers including the previously mentioned Devil’s Tower. After the government of San Gimignano decided to prolong a law in 1282 to prevent the destruction of old houses with the goal of making all homes more beautiful, the town underwent renovations until it reached its peak of power one century later. Originally featuring 72 towers in the Middle Ages, San Gimignano’s 14 towers offer an amazing silhouette and picturesque views of the Tuscany countryside. The main square is also worth the visit to San Gimignano for its ancient well and charming medieval architecture. While one of the most stunning small towns in Tuscany, San Gimignano can also be quite busy during the high season.
Only 20 minutes by car, Siena’s main square and cathedrals are arguably the most beautiful in Tuscany. Functioning as the historical and cultural center of the town since the 13th century, Piazza del Campo remains the city’s point of reference even today. Whether you choose to visit Palazzo Pubblico and observe the “neutral” seat of the government, climb 400 steps to discover a gorgeous view of Siena or celebrate when the extremely popular “Palio” takes place (on July 2nd and August 16th), you’ll definitely want to spend some time in this lively medieval square.
An absolute must-see is the Roman-Gothic marble face of the Duomo and the many masterpieces you can find inside. Truly one of the most unique tours you’ll find, visitors can view every single vessel of the interior construction of the church. The local Sienese pici (homemade pasta) and Ricciarelli (almond-flavored cookies) are two other mentionable that keep bringing me back to this charming city.
Colle di Val D’Elsa
Located in a strategic position for travelers by car, foot, or bike, Colle di Val D’Elsa has a quaint historical center full of intriguing museums, medieval architecture, and must-see monuments. Divided into “Colle alta” and “Colle bassa” via a 24-hour elevator, it’s worth noting that this charming town is known for producing crystal, being the birthplace of the famous Italian architect Alfonso del Campo and being home to several secret places. Hint: I recommend stopping by Fiume Elsa and Cascata del Diborrato to step into a whole new world and cool off. Find out more here:
Castellina in Chianti
Escape from the city and head to Castellina in Chianti. With one of the most beautiful panoramic car rides, you’ll find, Tuscany’s Chianti area is famous for Chianti wine and total relaxation. Boasting a rich history since the Bronze Age and Etruscans, visitors can take a stroll along the city walls, visit the two ancient archeological sites, go shopping for local Tuscan treats or enjoy a glass of wine in the main piazza. It’s also recommended to spend some time exploring the Chianti countryside and the many vineyards along the way.
Gaiole in Chianti
Historically popular for being a “market city,” Gaiole in Chianti is still used today as a trading center for local agricultural products such as extra virgin olive oil, Chianti wine, and rich Tuscan cheeses. As a result of its strategic position for markets and trade, this tiny village was destroyed and reconstructed many times during the many years of conflict between Florence and Siena. Home to the wealthy noble Ricasoli family, visitors can also find a path of charming medieval castles each one more different than the last.
Faqs of Travelers who Have Visited Monteriggioni, Tuscany
What is Monteriggioni Famous for?
Monteriggioni is known across the world for its well-preserved city walls from the 13th century positioned among the rolling Tuscan hills and olive trees.
How Long Does It Take to Visit Monteriggioni?
If you want to hit all the stops and give yourself time to enjoy some fine wine and dining, you should give yourself five hours to visit Monteriggioni. If you want to do a quick stop, you’ll be able to see most of the sites in two hours.
What to See in Monteriggioni in Half a Day?
From touring the city walls to entering the town’s ancient church and museums, visitors can easily cover all the main sights to see in Monteriggioni in a half day.