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La Rocca di Staggia – contemporary art in Crusader castle

  • La Rocca di Staggia – contemporary art in Crusader castle

    La Rocca di Staggia is an impressive fortress midway from Monterrigioni (7 km) and Poggibonsi (8 km). The recently restored Rocca began as a Longobard fortress but gradually became a beacon on the Via Francigena pilgrimage route. In the 14th century it came under Florentine influence and, as a bulwark against the Sienese, was constantly fortified and expanded. The Florentines also created a raised walkway, still partly walkable, that linked the castle and the village of Staggia. Today, thanks to a major restoration, the castle walls are virtually intact, including two gateways and sections of the battlements once patrolled by night-watchmen. The fortress, which was partly remodelled using Brunelleschi’s designs, was largely abandoned in modern times until it re-opened in 2007.  First impressions reveal a squared-off Longobard structure rising up within a warrior-like keep. The interior is very different, contrasting contemporary art installations with the ancient walls. You can only visit the castle on a guided tour, which combines the castle history with background to the bizarre art installations. Highlights of the tour include the views from the night-watchmen’s walk and the esoteric history of this medieval stronghold, with its curious mix of east and west. As well as offering avant-garde temporary art exhibitions, the foundation in charge of the castle have opened it up to events and festivals and also run local trails. The fortress is particularly impressive at night, when seen lit up from afar.

    Address: Via dell'Ospedale 2
    Staggia Senese
    Tel: +39 366 4792092

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