Take a walking tour of our beautiful village of Montisi and enjoy learning a little about the major buildings and monuments. You won’t find famous works of art or outstanding architecture but you will gain an understanding and appreciation of a typical small hill town in Southern Tuscany at a level that most tourists miss.
Begin your walking tour at Il Barrino, part of the Contrada San Martino, with a cappuccino or a bracing espresso then set off to your right into the centre of the village. Contrada San Martino is one of the four Contrade (districts) of Montisi.
Maybe pick up a postcard at Rosella’s and before you reach the Piazza, take the steep road to the right up to the Contrada Castello and the oldest part of the town.
Notice two symbolic monuments, the Civic Tower and the Colonna. The first was built in the 19th century, renovated in 2007 and has 2 clock dials with Roman numerals and is officially in Castello. The colonna is in fact an obelisk dedicated to the Madonna and dating too from the 19th century but is in Contrada Piazza.
Walk up the slope and admire the parish church or Pieve Santissima Annunziata. With origins from the 13th century it was once Romanesque in style but has undergone various renovations before taking its current mostly Baroque appearance. It contains a couple of charming pieces of art, a Madonna by Neroccio di Bartolomeo de’ Landi and a 14th Century painted crucifix.
In 2015 the bell tower was hit by lightening, destroying part of the apex – ask at the Barrino to see the photo – and both the bell tower and the panoramic terrace next to it have been recently restored. Carry on past the church into the Contrada Castello for a circular walk around the original village, enjoy the views from the old walls and imagine Simone di Cacciaconte attacking the original castle keep. Find too the tiny Piazza at the top of town now home to the Piccola Accademia school which hosts our famous harpsichord concerts.
Finally go past the art studio of Elizabeth Cochrane and you will be back in front of the Pieve and can head back to the main street, turning right again towards the Piazza and Contrada of the same name. Pop in and buy something decorative at Decorandra and watch out in Piazza for signs and notices celebrating a Giostra win, they have been very successful in the last few years!
Continue along here to the Contrada Torre which is the end of the village and turn and face the Grancia, the fortified grange and probably the most important monument in Montisi. Built in the 14th century by Ospedale of Santa Maria della Scala it consists of two main courtyards with an open loggia and was sold to the Mannucci Benincasa family in the 18th century. You too can live in this slice of history as apartments are available to rent. Incredibly, this Grancia has also a small theatre dating from the 19th century, home to Solo Bel Canto and used for local performances. See events for more details.
Retrace your steps back along the Main Street, past the base of the tower attached to La Grancia, which was originally a smaller replica of La Mangia in Siena. This tower was blown up by the retreating Germans in 1945/ Look for a little plaque and drawing as you walk past. Now on your right you will reach the second most important church in Montisi, the Cura of Saints Flora and Lucilla. With origins from the Middle Ages it was restored in Baroque style by the Bishop of Pienza in 1732.
You are now close to the Piazza square again and on your right is the Mannuci Benincasa palace. Built in the 18th century it has beautiful doors which are often open so you can see inside.
Further on the right is the Oratory of Saint Anthony of the Brotherhood of the Blessed Sacrament, open on request and often on a Sunday morning. This church is a Baroque restoration of a 15th century original. It houses a painting of the last supper by Giovanni di Giovanni and the crypt is home to some unusual religious antiques.
Continue up past the Alimentari, and unless you need to pick up some supplies, you will be back at the Barrino, just in time for an aperitivo!