Torrita di Siena has taken advantage of its position in the heart of the Valdichiana. In order to transform its economy the area has passed from agriculture, an activity of the main population, to the industry of handicraft. Many small companies of averages dimensions are found in Torrita, the majority of which are dedicated to the working of wood, clothing and building materials, increasing the potentiality of this small but prosperous village.
The first history with regards to Torrita di Siena goes back to the XI century, in fact the name first appears in the amiatino code of 1037. In the beginning of 1200 the Castle was ruled by the Senese Republic, who continued its reign for the successive centuries, despite the attempts by Montepulciano to gain power. The Siena defence due to its strategic position endured numerous attempts before becoming a part of Granducato of Tuscany. In 1554 it formally became part of the imperial armies and its coat of arms (the rampant lion with three ears) was replaced, on the Tower of the Communal building, with that of the Doctors.
A lot has been written about Ghino di Tacco (of the Monaceschi Pecorari family – ‘Signori della Fratta’), apparent figure of a ‘gentleman’ which to this day gives various interpretations and contrasting judgments. Torrita of Siena is the birthplace of Fra' Iacopo from Torrita (Brother Jacob), Francescano, renowned restorer of the art of the mosaic, of the XIII the century.
Torrita di Siena (325m above sea level.) has a territory of 58kmq and a population of approximately 7.000 inhabitants. Apart from the principal town that is articulated in an ancient historical nucleus and extends into the modern part, it is to be noticed the fraction of Montefollonico, an ancient medieval castle, that preserves interesting traces of its past and truly evocative landscaped aspects.
The original nucleus is enclosed within the remains of ancient walls which date back to the beginning of the XIII century, and has been restored many time following destructions which have been endured. The fortification was crowned by nine square towers which in 1528 due to an idea of Baldassarre Peruzzi; bastions were inserted in the towers. The Public square, with its central position reassumed its buildings the three powers: the soldiers (the Tower), the civilians (Communal Building) and religious (Church of SS.Flora and Lucilla).
Famous civil and religious buildings:
Chiesa della Madonna dell’Olivo (Church of the Madonna of the Olive tree): situated on the top of a hill opposite the Porta a Pago and anciently called Pieve di S.Costanzo, it is the oldest church in Torrita. Circa 1000 years ago, some historians believe that the church was built on the ruins of a temple dedicated to the Goddess Cerere (Dea Cerere). During the centuries the church has endured numerous restorations and modifications.
Chiesa della Madonna delle Fonti a Giano (Church of the Madonna of the Sources to Giano): located along the road which connects Torrita of Siena to Sinalunga, this church was constructed in 1665. The Latin scripture found on the remains of the perennial font is a reminder of the miracles which happened around the image of the Madonna of the Font. Architecturally the church respects the second half of the 1500 – beginning of 1600, with a Latin cross and three altars.
Chiesa della Madonna delle Nevi (Church of the Madonna of Snow): erected outside the walls in1525, built by the Torritesi in honour of the Madonna whilst a serious plague swept the Community. Conserved inside the church are paintings attributed to Girolamo di Benvenuto.
Chiesa di SS.Flora e Lucilla (Church of SS.Flora and Lucilla): Situated next to the Communal Building the more ancient side of the main Public square. The church is of Romanesque style with a single aisle. The front has precious workmanship rich of decorative bricks. The interior conserves paintings by artists such as Benvenuto di Giovanni, Bartolo di Fredi, and followers of Sodoma.
Palazzo Comunale (Communal Building): town hall of Torrita is located in the Main square next to the Church of SS.Flora and Lucilla. The architectural shape of the Palazzo is relative to the tower which reaches 1200m, but in the past centuries has undergone numerous modifications.
It was the ancient Pretorio Palace, where the Podestà and the officials of Siena resided until 1266. Adjacent to the Communal Building it is the Teatro ‘Degli Oscuri’ (Theatre "Of the Dark ones"), whose name derives from the Academy that it founded in the XVIII century and whose coat of arms is visible on the facade of the same Building.
The walls and Doors grant access to the Historical Centre of which three doors are of more ancient origin, especially Porta a Gavina, which still preserves a carriage entrance in wood dating back to the XIII century, while the Porta Nuova opens on the west side of the 1800’s walls.
Chiesa di S.Croce (Church of S.Croce): constructed in 1642, it has a red cooked facade and the inside is of baroque style. The church has three altars of which the greater one is dedicated to the Crucifix.
Chiesa di S.Martino e di S.Costanzo (Church of S.Martino and S.Costanzo): it is the parochial church, constructed around 1631 and became Collegiate in 1648. It preserves a bell dating back to 1454.
Chiesa della Madonna del Rosario (Church of the Madonna of the Rosary): the Church rises in the centre of the new residential zone. Of modern style, it contains precious works in ceramics, Glass mosaic and a wooden Crucifix on the main altar.
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