Torrita di SienaLoretta Gallorini
Ancient village on a hill on the west side of Valdichiana, its area has signs of Etruscan and Roman settlements. The first historical data about Torrita di Siena date back to 1300, in that year the name of the town appears for the first time in reference to an Amiata code of the year 1037 .
The development of Torrita takes place during some centuries and the town slowly changes from pagnus into castrum, in other words, from small village into a town surrounded by walls and fortifications.
Actually, under the dominion of the Republic of Siena, Torrita together with Ciliano and Montefollonico, becomes a bulwark to defend the borders of the State of Siena, during the age-long conflict against the Florentins who already owned Montepulciano, their furthermost conquered territory.
The Castle of Torrita was protected by walls equipped with towers and provided with three doors: Porta a Gavina, Porta a Pago and Porta a Sole. In the 19th century Porta Nuova was opened.
The historical centre of Torrita di Siena (included into the walls of which some parts are still observable) offers the visitor typical corners and considerable works of art. Going through the alleys of the hamlet, you can feel like you’re enveloped in a halo made of history and legend.
The access through Porta Nova lets you arrive first at Piazza Matteotti that from always represents the town centre of the political, religious and cultural life. There you can admire the thirtheenth-century Palazzo Pretorio, today seat of the Town Hall, with its tower raising up, the town Theatre and the church of SS. Flora and Lucilla.
The square is the crossing point from where the roads lead to the four access doors of the town; in its centre it still preserves the ancient cistern or well that during the last centuries was used for the whole town water supplying. Adjacent to the Town Hall stands the Town Theatre “Degli Oscuri” which started thanks to the homonymous Academy which founded it in 18th century.
The romanic church of St. Flora and Lucilla is the oldest one inside the walls; it dates back to 1300 and it keeps several remarkable works of art: the bassrelief lunette “Il sangue del Redentore” (The Saviour’s Blood), ascribed to Donatello, and other works by Bartolo di Fredi, Benvenuto di Giovanni, Francesco Vanni and Francesco Volpi.
Walking Via Ottavio Maestri you meet the Baroque church of Santa Croce and, not far, the collegiate church of San Martino and Costanzo. Going the near Via della Lupa, on sunny days, you can admire a wonderful sight of Valdichiana. The Via della Lupa takes to the Porta a Gavina, that is maybe the most famous of the four doors not only because of its architecture and its wooden entrance dating from 1200, but also because of the historic incident of the “Lupa”.
Via Cesare Battisti takes to the Porta a Pago, opening on the north side of the walls. Its name comes from “pagum”, the ancient village that rose on the opposite hill; other sources relate its name to the payment of a duty on goods arriving into the city.
Climbing Via Dante Alighieri, you arrive again in Piazza Matteotti, from where, through Via Ghino di Tacco, the alley of the Fabbri and the alley of the Ospedale, you can admire less known but very typical corners, like the well made arches and buildings that preserve their structure in spite of time.
Out of the walls you arrive at the Porta a Sole, where probably the first wooden houses occupied by the families of the soldiers defending the castle stood. In front of the visitor the space called “Gioco del pallone” (Game of Football), that is the space dedicated to the Palio of the Somari. At the end of such space stands a little Oratory whose shape is really pure and it is dedicated to the Madonna of the Nevi.
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