For as, on its round wall, Monteriggioni/ is crowned with towers, so there towered here, above the bank that runs around the pit,/ with half their bulk, the terrifying giants, who still – whenever Jove hurls bolts from heaven – /remember how his thunder shattered them.
-From The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri as translated by Allen Mandelbaum
I mentioned in one of my Florence posts about my son’s love of Assassin’s Creed II and its hero, Ezio Auditore da Firenze. Well, Ezio happened to have a country home that he used as a base of operations in a little place called Monteriggioni. When David and Mat saw the sign for the Comune di Monteriggioni on our drive from Siena to Verona, they seriously geeked out and we had to take a side trip.
I never imagined that I would be grateful to a video game for anything, but I am really pleased that the influence of Assassins Creed lead us to one of the true gems of our vacation. Monteriggioni is a tiny walled village in the province of Siena that was originally built by the Sienese in the 1200s to be the front line of defense in their war with Florence.
It is absolutely picturesque, filled with renaissance style architecture and surrounded by gorgeous Tuscan countryside. I loved touring the church in the main square and the boys were all enthralled with their armor museum, where they were allowed to touch nearly everything and even try on authentic armor.
David, Mat and I managed to carve out time for shopping at the adorable little shops lining the cobblestone pathways and wine tasting at Fattoria Castillo di Monteriggioni. The tasting was excellent. Not only was the wine delicious, but we got a great education in Italian wines and how they are made. Mat and David each ended up walking away with six bottles of wine (which would make packing to go home interesting down the road) and I bought two Italian cookbooks (that I hope I’ll be able to translate). We’ve really enjoyed the wines and the good news is that they ship to the US!