The hamlet of Montefollonico, located in Siena ’s Municipality of Torrita , looks down from a hillside nestled between the Valdichiana and the Val d’Orcia. Although the hamlet was founded at the height of the Middle Ages, in the year 1000, archaeological digs testify that the area was home to settlements dating back to prehistoric times. Its name comes from ‘Fullonico’, the first mountain village near the famed ‘Conventaccio’- an abbey run by the Cassinesi monks since the VIII century.
The hamlet’s fortress dates back to VI century and its inhabitants probably climbed the hill in search of protection. Taking advantage of a natural ditch that ran along the hillside, villagers started to practice the craft of ‘follatura’ or wool-dyeing. They called the place ‘Monte a Fullonico’ which later became ‘Montefollonico’. At the beginning of the 1200s, its fortified castle assumed great strategic importance for the Republic of Siena to whom villagers remained faithful for more than a century. Today Montefollonico still guarantees its inhabitants peace and offers well-deserved refuge to the lucky few who have discovered its charm.
Off the beaten tourist track, Montefollonica has maintained many of its local traditions and the village’s lifestyle still reflects the flavours of country-life. The ancient walls, the majority of which still stand today, enclose small treasures of ‘minor’ architecture. The Church of San Leonardo, for example, is one of the most relevant samples of Roman architecture in the Siena area. San Bartolomeo, built in the XII century, is possibly the town’s oldest church. The ‘Palazzo di giustizia’ or ‘Palace of justice’ boasts a breathtaking façade depicting the public Oriole.