How to reach
Sarteano ca be easily reache following the motoway A1 Firenze-Roma, exit Chiusi - Chianciano Terme. From here follow the signals, the town is only 5 km. far.
On a hill top located between the Chiana Valley and the beautiful Orcia Valley, soars the Sarteano’s Castle, around which expands the arch-shaped well preserved medieval town.
Of the four ancient walls – the last one of which enclosed the whole village - remains intact only that built during the Senese Republic around the half of the 15th century. It surrounds the central keep and on the east side it ends with two towers that can be reached by a watch walk. The Senese architectural intervention is marked by a lunette above the drawbridge which denotes the She-wolf and the black and white shield, the “balzana” - the characteristic symbols of Siena.
The Castle still preserves a few building elements which underline the importance it had as an impregnable defensive structure. In fact the thickness of the walls on the basis of the keep is about of seven metres and near the first drawbridge it is possible to see the ruins of an ancient trench that was filled with burnable material in case of siege. A further interesting element, besides the lack of windows, is that till 1699 the only existing entrance was a stairway adjacent to the castle wall that across a drawbridge brought to the keep’s first floor in this way the enemy was exposed to the shooting of the defenders.
The original iron main gate at the end of the drawbridge reveals interesting engravings representing the families shields of the captains who lived in this castle keep. The central keep has four floors and its summit is crowned with a terrace from which one can admire the whole Chiana Valley, the Lakes of Chiusi, Montepulciano, the Trasimeno and the Cetona Mountain. On each floor are still visible rests of fireplaces, rudimentary lavatories and wash-basins in travertine stone.
The secret spiral staircase directly connects the last floor of the Castle with the ground floor: this interesting element was used, in case of siege, to escape using an underground walk – no more existent today – that led in the open country.
The oldest information concerning the Castle is dated to 1038 and it refers to a deed of assignment drawn up inside the walls of the central keep. Since 1379 Sarteano and its castle keep stipulated a protectorate agreement with Siena. Due to its strategic boundary position the Castle underwent several sieges, among which that from Caesar Borgia in 1503. After the Senese surrender in 1555 also Sarteano with its Castle was occupied from the Medici family, who made the fortress inoffensive by partially interring some of its defensive elements. In 1617 the Great Duke Cosimo II gave the Castle in legacy to Brandimarte Fanelli and to all his male descendants.
The Fanelli family owned the Castle till 1998, year in which it was bought by the Sarteano’s City Hall. After a long restoration in May 2006 the Castle has been opened to the public.
More info & notes
15 aprile – 30 giugno e 1-31settembre: tutti i giorni tranne il lunedì dalle 10,30 alle 13,00 e dalle 15,00 alle 19,00
dal 1° luglio al 31 agosto: tutti i giorni tranne il lunedì con orario continuato dalle 10,30 alle 19,00
1° ottobre – 14 aprile: sabato, domenica e festivi dalle 10,30 alle 13,00 e dalle 15,00 alle 17,00
Vacanze natalizie: tutti i giorni (tranne Natale) dalle 10,30 alle 13,00 e dalle 15,00 al tramonto.
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