Borgo of the Month: Gargonza (Tuscany)

Thu, 04/04/2019 - 00:00
Medieval village of Gargonza Tuscany

In the heart of Tuscany’s Val di Chiana, the walled village of Gargonza is perched on top of a hill which overlooks the valley between Arezzo and Siena, in the municipality of Monte San Savino, one of the first urban settlements in the region.

Gargonza is a typical example of a fortified Tuscan agricultural hamlet. It originated in the Middle Ages, at the time of the battles between the Guelphs and the Ghibellines, due to its strategic position between the Val di Chiana and the Siena territory. Legend has it that Dante Dante Alighieri spent the first days of his exile there in 1303.  In the 1500s, it had become a community devoted to the care of woods and the production of wool.

After World War II, Gargonza was abandoned; in the 1970s, the count Roberto Guicciardini Corsi Salviati carried out conservative restoration work, aimed at preserving the medieval features, and today you can still admire the tower, walls, 13th-century gate, 14th- century Roman Church with bell tower, and narrow alleys lined with medieval houses. It is actually one of the best preserved fortified complexes in the Arezzo area. The main gate leads to the central square featuring a well and the 13th-century church of the Saints Tiburzio and Susanna made of stone. The borgo is dominated by the crenellated tower of the castle and is now albergo diffuso.

In nearby Monte San Savino, visit the 16th-century Loggias of the merchants, created during the Renaissance, and Palazzo del Monte, a villa with beautiful gardens and richly decorated interiors.