Montefollonico Torrita di Siena
The village stands on top of a hill (567 meters at sea level) between Valdichiana and Val d’Orcia. At first it developed between the XII and the XIII century with the construction of the Parish of Saint Leonard by the Cistercian monks , from the nearby monastery, then it became a fortified village under the Sienese Republic. It was built on top of pre-existing Etruscan and Roman settlements. As a matter of fact, its strategic position, made it a valuable outpost against Montepulciano, that was allied with Florence. In 1543, the village surrendered to the imperial army of Charles V and became part of the dominion of the Medici and of Florence. The village name comes from the Latin “fullones” ( people that wash woolen clothes), since the monks dedicated themselves to wool fulling ( Mons a Fullonica = place of clothes workers).The first records on the colonization of the area date as far back as the Neanderthal men (about 60,000 years ago) due to the findings of prehistoric utensils discovered in the locality called “Il Tondo” ( now a public park). Montefollonico is surrounded by perimeter walls that still maintain a few cylindrical towers and the “Torre del Cassero” dated 1277. Three original gates still exist nowdays (Follonica, Triano and Pianello) and they still give access to the historical center. The village hosts the church of Saint Leonard, mentioned already in 1216, and the monastery of Saint Mary, founded by the Benedictines before 1170 and abandoned in the XVIII century.