Montisi in the Val d'Orcia

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Giostra di Simone


History of Montisi


Main sights of Montisi

  • The Grange of Santa Maria della Scala was once a fortified farm and is now the most important monument in Montisi. It was built in the 14 C and, was bought by Jacopo Mannucci Benincasa, Secretary of  Peter Leopold, the Grand Duke of Tuscany. On 30 June 1944, retreating German troops blew up the tower. Currently, the Grange is a private home and a farmhouse. The building is constructed around two main courtyards, separated by what was once an open loggia. In the southern courtyard, there is a small 19 C theatre, the result of recent, radical restoration work.

  • Pieve of the Santissima Annunziata is the parish church of Montisi. It was built in the 13 C in Romanesque style, but it has undergone various restorations and alterations over the centuries. In the 18 C, the church was restored in Baroque style by the Bishop of Pienza, Septimius Cinughi. The last major intervention began in mid-20 C, when the parish priest, Elio Benvenuti, expanded by building with a new apse and the side chapel. The Romanesque facade still retains its original style with two windows on the sides of the portal. The interior, however, is in Renaissance style and the nave is divided into four bays by three sets of three arches supported by marble columns. The church has many works of art such as the altarpiece, "Madonna enthroned with Saints Paul, James, Peter and Louis" by Neroccio di Bartolomeo de' Landi, and the "Crucifixion" painted in the mid-14 C.


  • The church of Saints Flora and Lucilla, also called "la Cura" because at one time ruled by a curate, is the second most important church in the village. It was the first church in the village to be built in the Middle Ages and hwas completely restored in Baroque style in 1732 at the behest of the Bishop of Pienza, Septimius Cinughi. The church, then home to several fraternities, was enlarged in the mid-19 C, thanks to funding by the family of Mannucci Benincasa: changes were made in the transept, the new apse, the main altar, the sacristy and the bell tower, and the pipe organ located in the cantoria was installed. The interior has a nave with four altars along the walls and transept formed by the chapels dedicated to the Sacred Heart (right chapel) and to Our Lady of Lourdes (left chapel). In the chancel is the altar, decorated with neo-Gothic paintings and large crucifix donated in 1944. Behind it, in the apse, there is a French harmonium. The church was left abandoned for about twenty years and recently reopened. Now it is used every year for master classes in harpsichord by the Piccola Accademia di Montisi.


  • The Oratory of Saint Anthony of the Brotherhood of Blessed Sacrament - the oratory of the Confraternity (compagnia) of the Blessed Sacrament was built in the 15 C. The facade is simple with a central Rose window. The interior, restored in Baroque style in 1616 and 1773, has a single nave with three bays. During meetings, members of the brotherhood occupy benches along the side walls with a simple balustrade painted wood. At the apse, the single altar houses a painting of the "Last Supper" by Giovanni di Giovanni and beneath, a processional statue of the "Dead Christ". The 15 C crypt, the sacristy and the meeting room are used as a Museum of Sacred Art, with furnishings and objects from the oratory and the church of Saints Flora and Lucilla. In the crypt, located beneath the nave of the church, there is a fresco depicting a Crucifixion by an unknown medieval artist. In the meeting room, which is above the sacristy, some ancient missals, the processional statue of Our Lady of Seven Sorrows and a banner painted with the symbol of brotherhood are preserved.


  • The Mannucci Benincasa Palace is located in the Piazza Contrada, on Via Umberto I. It was built by the family of Mannucci Benincasa in the 18C as his palace and in the manner of a tower house. It was later expanded in the 19 C: the porch in blocks of tuffa, which was on the left, was incorporated in the building and was also expanded from the part that faced the country with the construction of the garden. The facade on Via Umberto I is characterized by the great portal in solid wood doors with wrought iron frame with carved leaves and marble ashlar. The lobby of the building, long and low, is covered by a barrel vault with frescoes lowered monochrome. In the stairwell, located down the hall and characterised by a circular ramp, there is a family crest of Mannucci Benincasa made of glazed and painted earthenware. On the occasion of the Giostra di Simone and the Festa dell'Olio Novo, exhibitions of local handicrafts ar hled in the hall.


  • The Civic Tower and the "Colonna". Along the slope that connects via Umberto I, the town's main street, with the Castello's Contrada, there are two symbolic monuments of the country: the Civic Tower and the "Colonna". The Civic Tower was built in the nineteenth century and was renovated in winter 2007. The building, visible from both the country and from dontorni for his height, is partly covered with cream-colored plaster, even in part with the stone walls (especially the corners). The tower is characterized by two clock dials with Roman numerals and by the metal structure, located on the top, that holds the bell that rings every half-hour. The Colonna, however, despite its name, is a small obelisk made of four overlapping blocks of stone. It was donated as a vow to the Madonna in the second half of the nineteenth century; in fact, within a small niche closed grate, there is a sacred effigy of Mary. Despite being very close to each other, the two monuments belong to two different districts: the Colonna is in Piazza's Contrada but the Civic Tower is in Castello's Contrada.


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