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La Rocca a Tentennano

Rocca di Tentennano

A vantage point for the Val d'Orcia

Map for 43.00836,11.614765
Castiglione d'Orcia
As far back as 1100 the Rocca, or fortress, had been owned by the Ardenga lords, who later became the Counts of Tentennano (Tiniosi comes from Tintinnano, according to a document written in 1153). In 1170, the Tinosi also dominated Bagno Vignoni, a third of San Quirico d’Orcia and other castles around the valley. In 1188, Roland, one of their ancestors, became the abbot of the powerful monastery of San Salvatore and in 1247, Aldobrandino of Tentennano set the troops of the Republic of Siena against the Perugian Army. In 1207 the Tignosi issued the so-called ‘Charta Libertatis’ which regulated the rights of the Rocca’s inhabitants. In 1251, the fortress fell into the hands of the Sienese, who demolished the structure—only to rebuild a new one in 1262 in the Val d’Orcia. The Sienese pledged the fortress to Salimbene Salimbeni as collateral for the 20,000 florins he loaned to the Republic to pay the victorious army at the Battle of Monteaperti.

The Fortress was permanently handed over to the Salimbeni in 1274, which began a period of struggle, characterized by skirmishes between various families from Siena. In 1380, Catherine of Siena stayed here with the unconcealed mission of convincing the Salimbeni to reconcile with the city. According to Raimondo da Capua, in his The Life of Catherine, it was here that the saint received the gift of writing. The war ended in 1419, when Giovanni Zolla opened the gate at night and brought in the Sienese. Cocco dei Salimbeni is thought to have taken refuge in the tower with a small group of his followers, including his wife and the rest of his family. One tragic night, that proved as cruel as a story from the Iliad and seems reminiscent of a Shakespearean tragedy, Cocco victoriously resisted every assault made upon him. Nonetheless, his subjects gathered together and decided they wanted ‘to be governed in the same way as others in the district’. Thus, they swore allegiance to the Republic, forcing Salimbeni to surrender.

The fortress became a stronghold for the Sienese, who used the structure to protect themselves from the raids of Cesare Borgia, Valentino di Machiavelli (1502) and Fabrizio Maramaus, a few years later. In 1553, its inhabitants surrendered without fighting the troops of Charles V, but retook the fortress and Castiglione only a few months later. This did not prevent the Imperialists from regaining the territory, by destroying dozens of houses and setting fire to the structure, which ultimately brought about the fortress’s decline.
Source: Amiata Tourist Information Office
Castiglione d'Orcia
Castiglione d’Orcia is a village nestled in the spectacular countryside of the Val d’Orcia, a region marked by the typical geological white, lunar “crete,” or “clays,” formed through ages of transformation. These lands are known for their clayish hills, where the slopes form sinuous bends with rounded corners, and in steeper areas, the “biancane,” barren semi-spherical (or cone-shaped) domes. ...