Monteriggioni

“If you play Assassin’s Creed, you probably know our next destination more than I do,” our tour guide quipped as we made our way to the medieval fortress of Monteriggioni. The castle was built by Siena in the early 1200’s as a defensive outpost during its wars with Florence. In the Assassin’s Creed canon, though, Monteriggioni is the home of the Auditore family and the headquarters of the Assassin Order’s Italian branch. Some scenes from the movie Gladiator were also shot here. It’s a small fortress so we only spent 30 minutes inside but it was fun imagining what would have happened during a siege: archers on the walls, catapults, ladders, that sort of thing.

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Monteriggioni is along the Via Francigena, the ancient pilgrim road from Canterbury, through France and Switzerland, to Rome. The route also passes by San Gimignano and Siena, both of which we also visited and were splendid even in winter. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to walk the entire route but I’d like to try at least part of it someday — possibly the section passing through forests, vineyards, olive groves, and fields of grain and sunflowers from San Gimignano to San Quirico. Fingers crossed…someday soon.

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