Rocca di Radicofani

Towering above for more than 1,000 years

The mighty Rocca di Radicofani has towered from the top of an impressive basaltic cliff, 896 metres high, for more than a thousand years, from which it dominates the surrounding territory, including Monte Cetona, Val d’Orcia and Monte Amiata. At the foot there was an ancient pass – Via Cassia, then ‘Francigena’ or ‘Romea’ – which undoubtedly determined the building of the fortress and its history to which it was indissolubly linked. The mountain pass of Radicofani was the protagonist of a unique historical episode: towards the second half of the 16th century the Sienese, alarmed that a long stretch of the road was difficult to control from the Rocca, replaced it, after having made it unfit for use, with another road that passed under the fortifications.

It was the centre of dispute right from the start for its strategic importance and was taken by storm more than once, destroyed and re-built, and was even involved in the historical long-lasting dispute between the Guelfs and Ghibellines (14th century), coming under control of the papacy. After many years with alternating intervals of peace and fighting it was besieged, bombarded and invaded by the imperial forces in 1555.

The original fortress has a triangular layout with a strong main tower which today is in good condition thanks to the restoration carried out in 1929 (the main tower was completely re-built in a very different shape from the original). Inside there is a museum with findings from recent archaeological excavations. Particularly interesting are the remains of the other sides of the oldest part with pieces of corbels for the defence and the other corner towers. Around this there is the first circle of the ramparted fortress built in freestone with four irregular sides. It was subsequently enlarged on the north side though not much remains of this work except the corner ramparts, one of which is next to the old entry-gate. The two strongholds practically enclose the whole of the basaltic cliff on different levels, making it almost impossible to reach the heart of the building from any side.

The castle was restored with a Fio project worth 9 billion of the old lire. In January 1999 the fortress was re-opened to the public and may be visited all over, including the underground communication trenches and the firing positions.

Parco Museo Città Fortificata, Radicofani
Visiting times: 10.30-07.30 pm (every day)
For information contact ‘Società Brigadoon’: 331 4103303