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Monday 17 June 2024
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Sapori Tipici Toscani
Sapori Tipici Toscani
Sapori Tipici Toscani
Sapori Tipici Toscani

The Montagnola Senese and the Fortified Village of Sovicille

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The Montagnola Senese is an area of hills to the west of Siena. The soil in this area is made up of chalky formations, marble and continental sediments from the Miocene period. The high levels of iron ore present in the soil give it its dark red colouring.
The Piana di Rosia area contains a vast water basin that supplies water to Siena and much of the surrounding area, with a number of water springs gushing naturally from the ground at several points along the feet of the Montagnola.
Listed as a Site of Community Importance in the Rete Natura 2000, the Montangola is rich in woodland, with the upper sections of the hills covered in Mediterranean scrub supporting a variety of trees such as ilex, turkey oak, chestnut, hornbeam, oak and cypress. The undergrowth is a fertile tangle of briars, mistletoe, ferns, holly and more.
Those walking through the woods in autumn will find them rich in mushrooms and seasonal forest fruits such as blackberries and wild strawberries. In the spring the wood floor abounds in wild flowers such as primroses, a broad range of broom, anemones, cyclamens and blackthorn.
The abundant wildlife that inhabits the area ranges from wolves to boar, deer, foxes, badgers, porcupines, hedgehogs, squirrels and a large range of migratory birds. The climate ranges from cold, damp winters to hot, damp summers.

The lands included in the Comune of Sovicille extend from the Montagnola Senese to the valley of the river Merse, roughly 10 kilometres from Siena. The name Sovicille has been attributed by some as deriving from the Latin Suavis locus ille, meaning “that pleasant place”. Others believe it comes from the Greek sukon-siconio, meaning “fig flower” after the abundance of fig trees that once grew in this area.

The elliptical shape of Sovicille testifies to the Etruscan origins of this village, remained virtually as it would have been in the 14th century. A number of churches and tower-houses were erected between the 12th and 13th century (Palazzone di Sovicille and Palazzaccio di Toiano), as well as fortresses (Celsa, Cerreto Selva ) and mills (Molino del Pero, Molino del Palazzo). During the Middle Ages in fact the area around Sovicille boasted at least 55 fortified hamlets, most of which have vanished, a few surviving in the country houses that dot the surrounding countryside.

Within the village itself there is the illusion that time has somehow stopped still. The curved Via Roma is lined with ancient buildings and it is easy to see that the buildings on the right hand side of the street correspond to the first circle of fortifications erected to defend the Medieval castle. The Palazzo Pretorio, at number 30, dates from the 17th century and still displays the coats of arms of the Niccolini and Fortini families, posted to Sovicille as podestà after the fall of the Republic of Siena in 1555. At each corner of the rectangular main square there once stood the four defence towers placed at each of the main streets leading into the centre of the village. The last of these towers was demolished in 1864 to make way for the Palazzo Municipale.

After the Unification of Italy, Sovicille and a number of surrounding hamlets were restored by the Italian state, thereby saving them from destruction.


  General information
Town map 
Siena in the Renaissance 
Siena in the Middle Ages 
Siena in Antiquity 

  Transport in town
Map of Hotels in Siena 
Town Map Siena 

  Transport out of town
Train services 

  Where to Stay
Farm Holidays and Country Houses  
Residence, Apartments 
Bed & Breakfasts 
Historical Residences 

Reservation Services Siena 
Last Minute Siena 

  Where to eat and drink
Disco Dancing 
Pubs & Wine Bar 

Siena University 
University for Foreigners 

  Art and monuments
Palazzo Piccolomini and Palazzo delle Papesse 
Palazzo Chigi-Saracini 
Palazzo d’Elci degli Alessi 
Loggia della Mercanzia 
Palazzo Sansedoni 
Palazzo Chigi-Zondadari 
Fonte Gaia fountain 
Carthusian Monastery of Pontignano  
Forte di Santa Barbara 

  Art and religion
Church of Sant’Agostino 
The Duomo – The Cathedral of the Assunta 
Church of the Osservanza  
The Oratory of San Bernardino 
Church of San Francesco 
Short Biography of St Catherine of Siena  
St Catherine Sanctuary 
Church of S. Niccolò al Carmine 

  Museums and galleries
The Museo Civico 
Bologna-Buonsignori museum 
Accademia dei Fisiocritici 
I Musei Senesi 

  Art and tourist attractions
Cappella di Piazza 
The Palazzo Pubblico and the Torre del Mangia 
Piazza del Campo 
The Montagnola Senese and the Fortified Village of Sovicille 
The Castles of Belcaro and Quattro Torri 


  The Palio of Siena
The Origins 
The July and August Palio 
The Contrade 
The Days of the Palio 
The Drappellone 
The Eve of the Palio 
The Corteo Storico Procession 
The Race 
The Patron Saint and Oratory of Each Contrada 
Weekly Appointments in each Contrada from April onwards 

Via di Città (formerly Via Galgaria), Siena’s Most Elegant Street 
Croce del Travaglio Place 
From Piazza del Campo to the Duomo Along Via di Città 
The Curves of Piazza del Campo 
Costarella dei Barbieri street 
Borgo d’Ovile 
The Terzo of Camollia – main streets 
Casato di Sopra e Casato di Sotto 
Terzo di San Martino district  
The Terzo di Città District - Via Stalloreggi, Via San Quirico 
The Terzo di Città District – The Pinacoteca Nazionale 

  What to see & do
Wedding in Siena 
Golf courses in Siena and Tuscany 
Wedding in Tuscany - Siena area 
San Casciano dei Bagni 
Chianciano Terme 
Bagni San Filippo 
Bagno Vignoni 
Rapolano Terme - Baths of San Giovanni and Baths of the Antica Querciolaia 
The Countryside around Siena and its Thermal Water Springs 

  Monte Amiata
Monte Amiata - nature tourism the year round 
SkiPass Monte Amiata 
WebCam sul Monte Amiata 
Meteo Monte Amiata 

  Specials - Out of town
Gift Ideas for traveling 
The Val d’Orcia and Its Main Towns 
Pienza - the old town centre 
Montepulciano - the old town centre 
San Quirico d’Orcia - the old town centre 
Montalcino and the Land of Brunello 
The Abbey of Monte Oliveto Maggiore and the Crete 
The Crete Senesi 
Castellina in Chianti and the Via Chiantigiana Towards Siena 
Siena and Southern Chianti - from the Castle of Montalto to the Castle of Brolio and on to the Castle of Meleto 
The Chianti Hills - Monte Calvo, Monte Luco and Monte San Michele 
Cortona and the Valdichiana 
San Gimignano - The old town centre and its major sights 
The Val d’Elsa - Monteriggioni and Colle di Val d’Elsa 
Along the Old Via Francigena 

  Typical products
Typical Tuscan flavours 
Oleum Evo online selling 
Sapori Tipici Italiani buy online now 
il Prosciutto Cotto