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Monteriggioni

Spectacular Monteriggioni, north of Siena, is a medieval stronghold, encircled by well-preserved stone walls and fourteen towers. Like Montepulciano, this small hilltop town is emblematic of the Tuscan landscape. Often dubbed `the gateway to the Middle Ages,’ the walled outpost of Monteriggioni is the quintessential medieval town, bristling with fortifications. The hilltop town was built by the Sienese in the thirteenth century to protect their front line from their eternal rivals, the Florentines. Monteriggioni also grew wealthy as a strategic stop along the Via Francigena pilgrimage route. In terms of size and modern-day status, Monteriggioni feels more like a forgotten backwater. It is only when the popular summer medieval festival comes to town that Monteriggioni recalls its past importance, complete with feasting, falconry, jousting and battle re-enactments. Beyond the theatricality of the setting, there are few significant sights but a visit is worthwhile for the magical mood and monumentality alone.

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