Itinerary: Grosseto, Montemerano
Montemerano, the beautiful Italian art city in Tuscany
Montemerano (pic n°2) (pic n°6) is an enchanting small art village in Maremma, Tuscany. It is officially said to be one of the most beautiful villages in Italy. When you visit this historic tiny art town walking around its narrow alleys or admiring one of the most photographed squares in Italy, named Piazza del Castello, you have the feeling to be in a magical place that has come alive from a fairy tale.
Geographically it is located at the top of a hill covered by the characteristic olive trees of Tuscany, about 30 miles South East of Grosseto, among the other hills of Maremma.
The Medieval village has been developed around the castle built on the hilltop and named the Poggio di Montemerano in the '200s by the Aldobrandeschi family. At the end of the 13th century, the village became the property of the Baschi family.
In the 15th century it was ruled by the Republic of Siena and at that time, it was transformed into an important fortress. In the second half of the 16th century, after the fall of the Republic of Siena, the village became part of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany.
Today Montemerano is one of the best-preserved art cities in Maremma. Its walls, towers, the fort and several stone buildings all dating back to the Medieval and Renaissance period, are still quite intact. The Medieval Walls of Montemerano (pic n°4), built of blocks of travertine and limestone, completely surround the village. There are three gates to get inside: Porta di San Giorgio, Porta Romana and Porta Grossetana.
Do not miss the parish Church of San Giorgio (pic n°3) built in the 14th century and enlarged in the first half of the fifteenth century. Inside there are some important artworks of the Renaissance period, like frescoes, paintings, table-paintings and various vestments. Mentioning some of them: the fifteenth-century 'Madonna in Trono col Bambino e Santi (pic n°5)' (Madonna and Child on the Throne with Saints) or the recently restored polyptych by Sano di Pietro. The 'Madonna della Gattaiola' (Madonna of the Cat Flap) is a fifteenth-century painting, probably originally located on a door and so called because of an obvious hole on it probably made because of letting a passage for the cats of the priests.
The Pieve di San Lorenzo built in the 12th century is one of the oldest building of the village and was originally used as a bell tower, now it a private residence.
The real pearl of Montemerano is the spectacular and scenic 'Piazza del Castello (pic n°1)' (Castle Square), intact in its Medieval origin and surrounded by houses built of stones. A short, steep path leads to this square you can enter through an arched gate.
Near Montemerano in the countryside, it is also worth visiting the 15th century Church of Our Lady of Cavalluzzo
The 'Festa delle Streghe', (Witches Festival) is an annual feast dedicated to witches and wizards, for great fun to children
The festival 'San Giorgio e il Drago' (St. George and the Dragon) is also an annual feast that was born around a legend and where people are dressed up in Medieval costumes.
Some pictures of Montemerano:
Piazza del Castello - Castle Square (pic n°1); The historic center of Montemerano (pic n°2); Church of San Giorgio (pic n°3); The Medieval Walls of Montemerano (pic n°4); The fifteenth-century 'Madonna in Trono col Bambino e Santi' (Madonna and Child on the Throne with Saints) (pic n°5); View of Montemerano (pic n°6);