Ruins of the Keep/Building, archeological
site in its interior.
Monterotondo Marittimo rises in the heart of the Colline
Metallifere (Metalliferous Hills) of upper Maremma, on the border
of the province of Pisa. You can arrive either from the north or south
by following the SR439.
Where is Monterotondo
|The thick walls of the keep.
The name of the town derives from “Mons Ritundus”,
after the unique conformation, almost cone-shaped, of the hill on which
it rises. The word “Marittimo” is connected to Monterondo
because of its position inland from the coast and is connected to Massa
too, which is also called “Marittima” . This area on the borders
of Massa Marittima, Siena, and Pisa, rich in
copper and silver veins, (see the mining castles of Rocchette Pannocchieschi
e Cugnano nearby) was often the center of political and economical turmoil.
Siena’s interest in mining, the birth of the new free commune of
Massa Marittima, and the involvement of Pisa, the Imperial seat, in the
internal affairs of Monterotondo, often clashed with this town’s
desire to become autonomous. Monterotondo’s political role as the
main seat of the territory, had in fact always fueled this desire.
|Ruins of less important buildings inside the wall of the fortress.
The origins of the settlement are remote despite the
fact that Monterotondo is mentioned for the first time in a document from
1128. In 1163 Federico Barbarossa conceded privileges
of the castle to the family of Alberti di Magona which
is immeditately destroyed by the army from Massa. The urban area developed
afterwards in the reconstruction also included the keep. In 1209, Conte
Alberto IV died and the castle passes to his son Rinaldo. After numerous
events, including the legal and illegal actions brought forward by the
heirs of the Alberti to get back its possession, in 1263 the castle of
Monterotondo passed under the dominium of the free commune of
Massa. It remained with Massa until 1335 when it passed under
the control of the Republic of Siena. It’s from
this period, in the year 1399, that the last work on the defenses of the
town including the Rocca was carried out.
|Ruins of one (probably) tower and the circuit of surrounding walls.
In 1554 Monterotondo was destroyed again by the Medici troops
allied with Spain and Austria, during the war against Siena. Famine and
pestilence caused the rapid decline of the settlement, and the population
was greatly reduced. In a document from 1615, the fortress is already
mentioned as being a ruin.
Today, of the Rocca of the Alberti there remain only a few insignificant
traces of what was once the fortified medieval complex. Constructed with
pieces of carefully aligned rock, the fortress was located on
the highest part of the hill, made up of the Keep
with the Palace inside, a guard tower,
a cistern for collecting water, and a serried of minor
buildings and a surrounding wall for the refuge
of its inhabitants. The ruins, recently consolidated, are now part of
a public park, and also part of archeological research on the part of
the University of Siena.