Magliano in Toscana
The western front.
The strategic importance of Magliano, so close to the sea and the inland of Mount Amiata and Pitigliano, has never been doubted. Today the surrounding walls of Magliano in Toscana are one of the most interesting and complete medieval urban fortifications of Tuscany, not only for their scenic effects but also for the excellent example of military architecture that they represent. On the hill where the village stand, there was once a castle, mentioned for the first time in 1097 and included in all of the acts of division of the territories of the Aldobrandeschi, counts of Santa Fiora and lords of the area.
In 1326 Magiano was occupied by the King of Naples and conceded to Carlo, Duke of Calabria and head of the imperial forces, to the Counts Pannocchieschi, but only after a year thanks to the intervention of Ludovico il Bavaro, it was given back to the Counts of Santa Fiora. Before abandoning the castle the Pannocchieschi burned it down.
In 1358 the castle was perpetually leased to the Republic of Siena that in turn conceded it to the Lords at Spinello di Spinello Tolomei. The Sienese immediately started restoring the Keep, which no longer exists today, and in the twenty years following, with the aid of specialized craftsmen, reinforced the surrounding walls. Additions and improvements were carried out during the early 15th century.
Today, three sides of the town walls are well preserved, interspersed with round towers and square towers, remnants of the ancient castle, perfectly merging with the preexisting Aldobrandeschi and late medieval Sienese additions. The wall walk, recently restored and that still can be used, is supported by suspended arches on upside down triangular shelves, a classic style of Sienese military architecture. The north side is joined with the houses and not easily visible. The Gate of San Giovanni on the south side, and that of San Martino on the north side are the two, still intact, original entrances to the enclosure. Next to the Gate of San Giovanni, you can still see the oldest part of the wall dominated by a square tower on which is the coat of arms of the Aldobrandeschi, Counts of the Holy Roman Empire, Imperial Vicars, is still visible.
From here the stone wall continues until it connects to the Sienese walls on the west side, facing the sea, thicker than the others, and interspersed with six round towers with, a considerable novelty for the architecture of those times, with arrow slits. The walls were originally taller and finished with a brick protrusion with arches and crenellations. The present gate on this side, called the Porta Nuova (New Gate) because it was constructed later than the other two, was built in a different time. You can see, in fact, the distinction between the truncated-pyramid body in which it is integrated and the walls that surround it. The gate has an opening in the form of an ogee arch bordered by elaborate brickwork and is crowned by an large breteche.
As already mentioned, on the north side one finds the Gate of San Martino, named for the nearby church that was the entrance to the ancient castle of Magliano, and is simpler than the New Gate. The machicolation is no longer there and there is a rounded arch opening in brick. The crenellation, Guelph, is probably a recreation. This tract of wall, even if modified in the Sienese period, is almost entirely that of the original built by the Aldobrandeschi.
|More Photos of the Walls|
|Town Walls Plan|
|Photos of the Hamlet|
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