Hamlets, districts and squares
Castelmuzio
An intact medieval town, a fortified castle with tuff stone walls and a seemingly shortened tower

Via della Trove, 3, 53020 Castelmuzio SI, Italia

A charming medieval town, with its Estruscan-Roman origins nearly intact, Castelmuzio is named in documents in the 9th century of the Badia Amiatina di San Salvatore, under the name of Casale Mustia. In some texts in the Archives of the State of Siena dating back to 1213, appearing under the name of Castel Mozzo. The people that live there simply call it Castello. 

Like the rest of the area, it belonged to the powerful Lords Cacciaconti della Scialenga, whose large domains included from the Fratta farm, not far from Sinalunga, reaching as far as the Castrum of Montepulciano.

In 1270, Castel Mozzo passed to the Republic of Siena and in 1354 the town became property of the Hospice of Santa Maria della Scala in Siena, whose emblem (affixed on a staircase) is still visible in the ornamental decorations put on the facades of some farms in the surrounding areas. For some time, it was ruled by the Salimbeni, then it was acquired by the Piccolomini who owned it until it was reconquered by Siena. With the defeat of the Republic of Siena, Castelmuzio was handed over by the Medici to the Grand Duchy of Tuscany.

The town is situated on the top of a hill of tuff overlooked by Mount Lecceto and facing the green valleys of Trove. It has the typical medieval structure of a fortified castle, walls and bastions. At the entrance of the town before a brief climb which leads to the entrance door, inserted in a war memorial, is the stone on which San Bernardino from Siena used to stand. The old door has the original “gangari” to open and close it and the spots from which the big stones were thrown to defend from attacks. The most interesting building resides in the central square: the tower which currently homes the Palazzo Fratini, recently restructured, which was once the court rooms; the Spedale di San Giovanni Battista which welcomed wayfarers and orphans offering them a place to stay and food as well as providing the dowry for girls without means; and the site of the Brotherhood of the SS. Trinita and of San Bernardino, which were attached to the pharmacy and a four bed hospice for pilgrims who walked to the nearby via Francigena.

Founded in 1450 and dedicated to the saint who held some of his famous sermons here, the Brotherhood is now home to a Museum of Sacred Art, full of fine pieces: a Madonna with saints thought to be by Pietro Francesco degli Orioli, a Madonna and Child from the studio of Duccio di Boninsegna, paintings from the studio of Beccafumi, Domenico Manetti and Sano di Pietro; a single terracotta Etruscan funerary urn from Abbadia Sicille and a fascinating collections of sacred decorations. Finally, a small panel attributed to Sano di Pietro with a monogram of Christ surrounded by a golden sun on a blue background, donated by San Berdardino to the town and kept in an 18th-century tabernacle frame in gold and enamel.

Not far from Castelmuzio is the Parish Church of Santo Stefano in Cennano, on the road that leads to Montisi, with paleochristian origins and built over an ancient Roman temple.