Torrita di Siena
Torrita di Siena is called "a mini Siena" for its style, atmosphere and history that tied it to that city-state. It was built as a fortified castle hamlet at a strategic position between Siena and Montepulciano, then evolved into a full-fledged town. The city walls that are still mostly intact were built in the 1200s and have four gateways to access the town center; three are original from the walls' construction, while the fourth was an additional opening in the walls in the 1800s. The Porta Gavina offers gorgeous views across the Valdichiana. The streets that lead from the gates all culminate at Torrita's heart and civic soul - the Piazza Matteotti.
Piazza Matteotti has been the civic, religious and commerical hub for Torrita since its conception. Here you'll find the Palazzo Comunale (previously known as the Palazzo Pretorio), the grand edifice that houses the town hall and has been the seat of municipal rule since the 1200s. The Sienese-style tower is reminiscent of the Torre del Mangia in Siena. The Romanesque church of Santa Flora e Lucilla is the oldest church in town, here on the piazza, and houses many lovely works of art, including a carved bas relief lunette by Donatello.
Torrita's charming lanes and Old World atmosphere are the stuff of picture postcards, so wander around and soak it in. Below town you'll see picturesque landscapes of olive groves, grapevines and cultivated fields of wheat.
Torrita di Siena, like its "big sister", puts on a Palio event; the Palio dei Somari is a country version on donkeys, held on March 19. The town is also noted for its annual Blues Festival, at the end of June.
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Explore nearby towns
Not far from Torrita di Siena, set on top of a hill between Valdichiana and Val d'Orcia lies Montefollonico, typical isolated Medieval hamlet surrounded by thirteenth-century walls of fired bricks.
Frescos, tables, paintings statues by important authors among which: Benvenuto di Giovanni, Sano di Pietro, Rutilio Manetti, Domenico Beccafumi, Guidoccio Cozzarelli, Sodoma, Santi di Tito.
Montepulciano is one of Tuscany's prettiest towns, strung along a ridge at 605 meters above sea level near the border of Umbria.