Discovering the myths and beliefs that surround Podere Salicotto
Tuscany is a land rich in history, as well as being famous all over the world for its iconic landscapes.
Here, in the heart of Sienese Tuscany, between the Val d’Orcia and the Crete Senesi, you will find a multitude of wonderful hills waiting for you, uncontaminated and iconic spaces that contain truly exciting stories and legends! If you love mysteries and want to discover all the secrets of these lands, this is the article for you! Starting from our Podere Salicotto farmhouse in the Crete Senesi, you will be in the perfect position to discover the most mysterious Tuscany!
Buonconvento and the “haunted” Villa
Let’s start our journey from Buonconvento: just 2.5 km away from Podere Salicotto you will find one of the most beautiful medieval villages in Italy. But beware, this enchanting village also hides mysteries… We are talking about Villa La Rondinella, one of the greatest examples of liberty architecture – floral style – in the area. A beautiful villa, richly decorated both outside and inside and yet always remained uninhabited and surrounded by an aura of mystery. The Villa was commissioned by the bourgeois Luigi Saverio Ricci and built by the architect Gino Chierici as a token of love in the early twentieth century. It tells of stones thrown at passers-by, strange green men who close the gate of the Villa to the curious, men or pale girls who ask for passage to reach the Villa saying they live in Villa Rondinella, actually never inhabited … Ready to approach the Villa?
The foundation of Siena and Asciano
We all know of the legend of Romulus and Remus, of the she-wolf who nursed them and of the subsequent foundation of Rome. But then why do we find the Roman she-wolf represented in Siena? Know that the story of Romulus and Remus and their descendants is connected to the foundation of the city of Siena and to one of the most important centers of the Crete Senesi, the village of Asciano (about 20 km from Podere Salicotto). Legend has it that the sons of Remo, Senio and Aschio (or Aschiano) fled from Rome and from the fury of their uncle Romulus thus founding the city of Siena, rich in references to the Capitoline (roman) she-wolf in mosaics, statues and reliefs scattered throughout the entire city.
After the foundation of Siena, Aschio, a peaceful man and lover of life in the countryside, also decided to move from the newborn Siena, with the intention of looking for a pleasant place to live in peace and serenity. He arrived in the Crete Senesi and, after asking the gods for advice, he decided to found Asciano, which has always been a great ally of Siena.
The battle of Montaperti: the historic victory of Siena over Florence
Now we continue towards Siena, reaching the locality of Montaperti. Here the famous battle of Montaperti took place, an anecdote that the Sienese still love to remember with a smile … In battle for centuries, Ghibelline Siena and Guelph Florence clashed for the umpteenth time in 1260. Thanks to the audacity and cunning of the Sienese, that battle was won by Siena despite the historic power of Florence. Legend has it that the Sienese army tried to intimidate their opponents by parading and changing three different colored shirts, so as to make the Guelphs believe that the number of Ghibelline soldiers was at least triple. The Sienese also infiltrated some men into the enemy army, who at the right moment revolted against the Florentines, causing panic and confusion. The Sienese thus wiped out the Florentine army. The battle remained in history because it was one of the few episodes of overwhelming victory over Florence, making Siena a symbol of the Ghibelline creed. If you walk in the field of Montaperti be careful: you might find the ghost of the Florentine commander who wanders in pain among the hills, who died frightened in that clearing, unable to control his army.
The sword in the Rock of San Galgano
Let’s move to Val di Merse where you will find an authentic Tuscan sword in the stone. We are talking about the myth of San Galgano, whose iconic Abbey has become a real symbol of Tuscany.
Galgano Guidotti was a fierce and dissolute knight of the 12th century who, after a vision of San Michele, converted to religious life becoming a hermit. To consecrate the decision to no longer use his sword and violence, he stuck it in the rock, where the Abbey of San Galgano was born.
Visit this open-air abbey and let yourself be seduced by the enigmatic energy of this place, try to visit it in the evening: the starry sky and the special lighting illuminate this place giving you a magical experience. The sword in the stone is kept in the hermitage of Montesiepi next to the Abbey, where you will also find a small case containing two mummified limbs! Three thieves were reported to have tried to steal the sword but, according to the myth, they were mauled by wolves. Skeptical? You just have to go and see for yourself …
Radicofani and the Tuscan Robin Hood
Let’s move to the Val d’Orcia in the enchanting village of Radicofani. Here you will find the famous Rocca di Radicofani waiting for you, which overlooks the entire Val d’Orcia from above. From here you can admire the valley and indulge in a visit to the lair of the 13th century Tuscan Robin Hood.
The figure of Ghino di Tacco is closely linked with the village of Radicofani. A Ghibelline nobleman, he found himself a fugitive and banished following the beheading by the Guelph of his father and uncle. Not wanting to surrender to his enemies, he conquered the Rocca di Radicofani – controlled by the Papal State – making it the basis of his raids. It is said that, just like the English gentleman bandit, Ghino di Tacco robbed only the wealthiest travelers on their way to Rome. Described by Dante and Boccaccio in their poems, the figure of Ghino di Tacco still watches over the beloved village, thanks to the statue in the gardens of Piazza Sant’Agata. Are you curious to know more about Radicofani? Click HERE.
Trequanda and the legend of the Beata Bonizzella
Bonizzella Cacciaconti was born in Trequanda, a village rich in history about 20 km from our Podere Salicotto farmhouse and the last stop on our itinerary. Blessed Bonizzella was born around 1230 – 1235, and as was the custom of the time she was given in marriage to a noble, soon becoming a widow. She began to do good works and to help all fellow citizens in difficulty, thus dying in poverty, buried in the church of San Pietro and Andrea di Trequanda.
It is in this church that the legend tells that two municipal councilors found the body of the Blessed, when they noticed that a swarm of bees continually entered and exited from a lateral crevice of the church. Removing the stones, the body was discovered soaked in incense and perfectly uncorrupted, despite having been there for centuries. Furthermore, it is said that the Blessed held in her hands a chalice-shaped honeycomb built by bees (now preserved in the Vatican Museums). There were many wonders linked to the figure of Bonizzella Cacciaconti: there were reports of miraculous healings and of many criminals caught by sudden blindness, who regained their sight after only repenting.
If we have piqued your curiosity, then you just have to pack your bags and leave to come and visit us!
Podere Salicotto farmhouse is the perfect base for visiting the Crete Senesi and the adjacent Val d’Orcia. After days spent discovering these myths and legends, you will find our property waiting for you where you can relax in unspoiled nature. Come and discover us, we will be able to show you the best tours according to your tastes and needs, if you just want to relax … we know how to tempt you!
Do not delay, we are happy to welcome you to Podere Salicotto!