by Loretta Gallorini
The medieval village of Trequanda developed around the castle dating back to 1200, of which just the cylindric crenellated tower remains, some pieces of the boundary walls and two of the three original entrance doors are still well visible.
Trequanda stands on the top of a hill surrounded by woods, vineyards and olives. In Trequanda’s territory we can also find the typical villages of Petroio and Castelmuzio.
The historical centre develops around the airy square, the town highest point where the wonderful Romanesque Church dedicated to St. Peter and Andrew, the beautiful Town Hall and the Castle appear.
The roads and the alleys leading to the valley start from here and through a walk you’ll discover the real medieval face of the town. Now a vault, now a covered passages, now a votive ceramics, now a bench where the visitor can sit and admire the valley landscape dotted with cypresses.
The thirteenth-century Romanesque Church of St. Peter and Andrew has a façade of white and dark ashlars giving the church a rather unique chromatic effect for this area. In the interior, on the high altar, there is a wonderful polyptych of the Sienese painter Giovanni di Paolo (1479-1549) and here the remains of the Beata Bonizzella Cacciaconti are preserved in a richly decorated urn, a masterpiece of the 16th century Sienese art; on the right wall a beautiful fresco by Sodoma (1479-1549), a fresco by Bartolomeo Mirana, on the left wall there is a niche with a statue representing a Madonna with Infant by Sansovino and a majolica representing the Ascension of the Della Robbia’s school.
In the parsonage we can find: a Crucifix by an unknown author, maybe dating back to the 16th century, some Reliquaries with St. Peter and Andrew and the base of a 16th century chalice with symbols and enamels by Tomeo Lanini.
A good part of the village is still occupied by the ancient Castle of Cacciaconti and by its important annexes, among which a little and unique Italian garden shines. On the north-eastern part there is the majestic cylindric stone tower dominating the whole building, partially rebuilt after the war it points the castle ancient fortified structure.
Petroio is the terracotta town, here everything tells us about this ancient manufacturing art which characterized the economy of this place and still it is present. Almost all houses and buildings are made of adorned bricks representing vigilant dogs, lions, gables, vase and amphoras, jars, niches. The presence of the Museum of Terracotta intensifies further the importance of this ancient art.
The medieval village climbs up a hill, as we arrive we see its houses close to he hill, the village is dominated by a donjon, the first house of the Signori Cacciaconti. It is better to leave the car down and climb the alleys of the town.
On the lower part there is the little Church of St. Andrew, seat of the old Hospital (Spedale), just a templar Cross remains of the town access door and as soon as we’ve passed it, leaving the terracotta factory with the old chimney behind, we reach the Romanesque Church of St. George, the oldest one of Petroio, where 17th and 18th century canvas are preserved.
Climbing the old pavement we join the Palazzo Pretorio that is now the seat of the Museum of Terracotta, in front of it the Church of SS. Peter and Paul where an oil painting representing the Ascension by the Sienese painter Rutilio Manetti is preserved, and there is also an excellent canvas representing a Madonna with Infant by the Sienese painter Taddeo di Bartolo.
Along the way the ancient medieval houses rise up to the top of the village where the Torre Civica stands; it is made up of big squared tuff blocks and we can also admire the 12th century Donjon. At the end of the access step we see a little terracotta statue, effigy of Bartolomeo Garrosi known as Brandano: he was a famous and eccentric medieval preacher.
Castelmuzio is a charming medieval village almost intact, of Etruscan-Roman origin. Like the whole zone it belonged to the powerful Signori Cacciaconti della Scialenga whose wide dominions included the Fratta farm, not far from Sinalunga, as far as the Castrum di Montepulciano.
The village is placed on the crest of a tuff hill and it overlooks the green Trove valley. Its structure is the typical one of a fortified medieval castle surrounded by walls and bastions.
A short climb leads us to the ancient access door that is well preserved. Here a stone where usually St. Bernardino from Siena rested has been walled up; the Saint gave the town a painting ascribed to Sano di Pietro representing the monogram of Christ surrounded by a golden sun on a blue background, now preserved at the Museum of sacred art. In 1450 St. Bernardino founded here the Confraternita della SS. Trinità that included a home for the pilgrims going the Via Francigena and a pharmacy that is today the seat of the Museum of sacred art.
Such Museum is full of excellent items: a Madonna with Saints ascribed to Pietro Francesco degli Orioli; a Madonna with Infant of the Duccio di Boninsegna’s school; paintings by the Beccafumi’s school and by Domenico Manetti and Sano di Piero; there is also a peculiar Etruscan terracotta cinerary urn coming from Abbadia Sicille and an interesting collection of church ornaments.
The Museum is in the main square of the village where also other very interesting buildings are: the tower that today houses the Palazzo Fratini, once seat of the Podestà, the Spedale (Hospital) of St. John the Baptist which offered wayfarers and orphans accommodation and food and the church where a painting by Giovanni di Paolo representing St. Bernardino is.
A walk through the narrow roads of the village lets you admire landscapes ranging over from Valdichiana to the Crete Senesi.
Other towns in the area:Agliana, Anghiari, Arezzo, Asciano, Badia a Ruoti, Badia Agnano, Bagni di Lucca, Bagno a Ripoli, Barberino di Mugello, Barberino Val d'Elsa, Bietina, San Giustino Valdarno, Bucine, Buonconvento, Calci, Calenzano, Campo nell'Elba, Camucia di Cortona, Carrara, Casciana Terme, Cascina, Casole d'Elsa, Castel San Gimignano, Castelfiorentino, Castelfranco di Sopra, Castellina in Chianti, Castelnuovo Berardenga, Castiglione Fibocchi, Castiglion Fiorentino, Castiglioncello, Certaldo, Cetona, Chianciano Terme, Chiusi, Cinigiano, Civitella in Val di Chiana, Colle di Val d'Elsa, Cortona, Dicomano, Dudda, Empoli, Fabbrica di Peccioli, Figline Valdarno, Florence, Foiano della Chiana, Follonica, Fonteblanda, Fornacette, Forte dei Marmi, Gaiole in Chianti, Gambassi Terme, Gavoranno, Ghizzano, Giuncugnano, Grassina, Greve in Chianti, Grosseto, Iesa Palazzo, Impruneta, Isola del Giglio, Lamporecchio, Laterina , Livorno, Loro Ciuffenna, Lucca, Lucignano, Lucolena, Marciano della Chiana, Marina di Grosseto, Empoli, Masotti, Massa, Massa e Cozzile, Moggiona, Molazzana, Monsummano Terme, Montaione, Montalcino, Monte San Savino, Montecatini Terme, Montefollonico, Montelopio, Montepulciano, Monterchi, Monteriggioni, Monteroni d'Arbia, Montespertoli, Montevarchi, Monteverdi Marittimo, Monticchiello di Pienza, Monticiano, Montisi, Nievole, Orbetello, Panzano in Chianti, Pari, Pergine Valdarno, Pian di Sco', Pienza, Pietrasanta, Pievasciata, Pieve Fosciana, Pisa, Pistoia, Pitigliano, Poggibonsi, Policiano, Ponsacco, Pontassieve, Ponte a Elsa, Ponte a Moriano, Pontedera, Poppi, Porciano di Lamporecchio, Porciano di Stia, Porto Ercole, Pozzo della Chiana, Prato, Puntone, Radda in Chianti, Radicofani, Rapolano Terme, Reggello, Rignano sull'Arno, Rigomagno, Rigutino, Riparbella, Ponte a Moriano, Rosignano Solvay, Rufina, San Baronto, San Casciano dei Bagni, San Casciano in Val di Pesa, San Donato in Poggio, San Gimignano, San Giuliano Terme, San Giustino Valdarno, San Miniato, San Quirico d'Orcia, Sansepolcro, Sarteano, Saturnia, Scandicci, Scarlino, Segromigno in Monte, Seravezza, Serre di Rapolano, Sesto Fiorentino, Sieci, Siena, Sinalunga, Sorano, Staggia Senese, Subbiano, Tavarnelle Val di Pesa, Terontola, Terranuova Bracciolini, Tirrenia, Torre del Lago Puccini, Torrita di Siena, Uliveto Terme, Vagliagli, Vecchiano, Venturina, Viareggio, Vicchio, Vinci, Volterra
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