lunedì 7 ottobre 2013

Medieval Villages in Tuscany - Castelvecchio di San Gimignano

Medieval Villages in Tuscany - Castelvecchio di San Gimingano

Situated on a high rock of the western side of Mount Cornocchio and between two deep gorges, Castelvecchio is a today charming place with various medieval remains. These are recognizable signs of most impressive fortifications, houses and of the Romanesque absidal church. The origin of Castelvecchio is the "holy rock" of the Etruscans, the first settlers of the place. The roman period saw the abandonment of the village, being far from the consular roads. Between th 6th and 7th centuries, the hillside was fortified by the Longobards. Documents bear witness to the fact that in 1208 Castelvecchio already had the present features and had set itself  as a free Commune. Its position, half-way between San Gimignano and Volterra, made it a desired stronghold. For this reason, right in 1208fortifications were added and walls reconstructed. In 1308 a cruel conflict between Volterra and San Gimignano made Castelvecchio the main target of the army of Volterra. Besieged, the citadel resisted and became the symbol of endurance and of the victory of San Gimignano, which neverthless represented the beginning of its fall. after loosing its frontier position, the citadel was supplanted by the new fortress of Castel San Gimignano, erected from 1310 to 1320. In 1348 the terrible plague of "black death" mader a small village of Castelvecchio, where only few sheferd and woodcutter families lived. The earthquake of 1452 dealt a heavy blow to the place and, so the rock was completely abandoned early in the 17th century.
(Source: Bruno Bruchi e Alessandro Naldi, Medieval Villages in Tuscany.)

See also:

San Frediano Church


Castelvecchio di San Gimignano


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