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Adorable Chick

ITALY, GREECE & MONTENEGRO Diary : Day 4 - 05th May 2018

Standing atop a hilly mound in the Chianti land, at about an hour's driving distance southward of Florence city, is the fortified commune of Monteriggioni. It is currently referred to as a town. This 13th century medieval village was secured by a fortress wall running 570 metres in total length. It was built for military purposes , serving as a defence mechanism by the Sienese, from its neighbouring enemy - Florence. Both cities were on constant war with each other. The wall, decorated by 14 square based view towers, runs in rectangular shape on one side with bulging edges on the other, giving it an almost circular look. Though the walls stand strong, the roof portion of all the towers and the top portion of a couple of them are in a dilapidated condition presently. The fort town has only two gates, both facilitating entrance and exit. The ROMEA gate faces Rome and the FLORENTINE gate faces Florence. Covered with deep history of glory & betrayal, the town we currently see, is a little world in itself. As few as 8 families co-exist within its walls today. Filled with a few souvenir shops, other shops, hotels, restaurants & bars, the town promises a unique experience to its visitors, throughout the year. Of course, we do find few settlements in the surrounding area as well. The vast expanse of surrounding lands are ideal for long walks, treks, cycling & horseback excursions.

Monteriggioni came as a second stop for the day, with MYTOURS. Our experience in SAN GIMIGNANO ( read SAN GIMIGNANO ) that morning clearly proved that Monteriggioni was way smaller in area. Our bus parked itself at the foothill of the entrance. We spotted the fortress right in front of us, standing on a higher platform , covering a natural hillock.

The cute little fort town welcomed us with lush greenery surrounding the area. The artistic structure of a particular fencing of the adjacent green land, made of unprocessed wooden tree trunks, impressed us thoroughly. There was also another entrance gate belonging to a different property, that seemed ancient but strong. We had to walk up a mildly winding slope to get to the entrance. At every level of our ascend, views got clearer. Our camera had loads of work to do. We were under no pressure to move along with the tour group. We were given a time limit of one hour and were free to explore on our own. Alongside the slopes were abundant, budding olive trees.

Tidy Desk

As we reached closer, we noticed that the tall fortress walls seemed new & sturdy as ever. Moving at a slower pace than the others, getting enough pictures, we walked in through the ROMEA GATE. One look inside gave us the feeling of having walked back in time, yet again. The entrance led us to an open space, unlike that in SAN GIMIGNANO.

It was like a huge living room of a house. This was the Piazza Roma. The ancient stories narrated by the guide standing on the square, kept us in awe. The fortress walls and towers had hidden secret treasures for centuries, before being discovered. The history goes beyond one's imagination. The place had indeed withstood many many wars. The world inside was more developed than anywhere else. I suggest you read more on I am sure it will leave you amazed.

The current fortified settlement looked nothing like its past. It was a modern, peaceful world with an antiquated look. On one side of the Piazza Roma stands the CHURCH OF SANTA MARIA ASSUNTA. The facade of this church is a simple stone wall with a roundish window placed right above the entrance. Its sloping red tiled roof hosts a square bell tower from its mid point. The church interiors follow more of a Romanesque style. The surface of the town took shape of the hilly mound it stood on, sloping downward towards the FLORENTINE entrance. A corner of the square was occupied by an open sky restaurant, displaying their beautiful, sturdy furniture. The MUSEO DELLE ARMATURE ( Museum of Arms ) is an experience in itself.

A tall, complexly structured metal blend of human form & armour, decorated the museum entrance, inviting us to a few photographs. The museum is said to hold information about all the wars experienced in the area, apart from a fantastic display of armours. Interested visitors are free to try on armours and learn few war techniques, from the available samples. We didn't have enough time to cover this. Huge flower pots and varied flower arrangements ornamented the town walls and floor.