Rocca of Radicofani
1. The cliff of about 900 meters high crowned
by the Rocca.
2. The Keep, most ancient part, medieval heart of the fortification.
The mighty Fortress of Radicofani rises at the southern
extremity of the Val Of Orcia, on a rocky hill between the Mount Amiata
and the Tuscany borderline with Umbria and Lazio. It can be reached easily
following a deviation of the SS.2 Cassia. The hill can be seen from every
point from kilometers. Radicofani is listed in the World Heritage List
of UNESCO as part of the Orcia Valley Park.
Photos - Year 1999
» Photos - Year 2007
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» Where is Radicofani located?
The mighty Rocca of Radicofani rises from the dark ages
before the year 1000, it was named for the first time in 973, on the top
of an imposing basaltic cliff of 896 meters high, from which dominates
the whole territory set between the Mount Cetona, the Orcia Valley
and the Mount Amiata. To its feet passed an ancient footstep of the Roman
Cassia road, then named Francigena or Romea, and it was without doubt
this fact that caused its birth and its big role in history, for a long
time strongly tied up to this road. The pass of Radicofani was at center
of an unique historical episode: toward the second half the 15th century
the Senesi, worried by the fact that a part of the road resulted hardly
controllable from the Fortress, replaced this, after having made
it inagible, with a new layout that passed under the fortifications.
|The main gate of the Medieval Castle, core of the
For its strategic importance the Fortress was contended
for long time and it is almost impossible to trace the whole eventful
history. Initially Radicofani was under the control of the Benedictine
Abbey of the Mount Amiata but soon first the counts of the Aldobrandeschi
family, in the year 1081, then the counts of Chiusi, the Manenti of Sarteano,
tried to replace the monks. The Senese control began in 1139, when the
count Manente da Pepone gave a sixth part of the castle to the Bishop
of Siena. But the monks didn't surrendered and with the help of the Roman
Church, in the figures of Pope Eugene III, was granted to them the perpetual
location of half of the fortress. Pope Adriano IV, successor of Eugene,
reinforced the castle and in 1198 Innocenzo III started great new
works on the fortification. From this period Radicofani was often at the
center of the continue struggles between Siena and Orvieto, city
allied with Florence, with the constant intervention of the Roman Papacy.
Here I remember only the principal historical facts: in 1262 the fortress
became seat of the family Salimbeni, Guelphs escaped from Siena; in the
following years the Senesi regained and destroyed the walls of Radicofani.
The situation repeated itself in the years 1264-65, then there was a revolt
against the power of the Church (1284) and in 1295 the castle became the
eagle nest of the famous captain of venture Ghino di Tacco, that from
here launched numerous attacks to the Senesi. In the 1301-1302 Radicofani
was again at the center of the war conducted by Guido of Montfort and
Margherita Aldobrandeschi, Ghibelline, against the Guelphs Commons
allied with the Pope. The Guelphs won the war and the fortress remained
in peace for a long time under the control of the papacy.
|The main front of the second walled
Siena began to move with decision in 1352 to take again
possession of Radicofani but the strong controversy born between the two
adversary ended with the papal concession of the castle dominion at the
Salimbeni family. Finally, in 1405, the Senese Republic and the Salimbeni
signed the peace and the castle passed to Siena. In 1417 began the construction
of the new bastionated fortress around the original medieval nucleus.
After years of skirmishes and secondary passages of ownership, always
ended with the return of Radicofani to Siena, we arrive to the last remarkable
historical fact that interested the fortress: in 1555 it was besieged,
bombed and invaded by the Imperial army.
|The remnants of the third bastionated
enclosure with the gate.
The primitive fortresses has an almost triangular plan
and is gifted of a mighty keep, totally reconstructed during the the works
of restoration effected in 1929. Very interesting are also the rests of
the other sides of the most ancient core, with rests of machicoulis for
the outside defense and of two other angle towers. Around this is developed
the first bastionated fortress enclosure built in beautiful worked stones,
with four irregular sides. This fortress was subsequently widened toward
north, being the south side already naturally protected from to
strong gorge, with another walled enclosure, but of these boundaries don't
remain great traces, with the exception of an angle bastion where
the ancient gate of access is opened. The two bastionated walls line enclose
in practice the whole basaltic cliff on two different levels, making almost
impossible to reach the heart of the fortification from any side. The
castle is, from the Juanary 1999 after a great work of restoration, reopened
to the public.
Parco Museo Città Fortificata di Radicofani
Visits: 10.30-19.30 (all days)
For information: Società Brigadoon ph. +39 331 4103303