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Capalbio: a medieval village in southern Tuscany


The medieval village of Capalbio is located in the extreme south of Tuscany, 219 meters above sea level, a short distance from the Via Aurelia and the sea. Capalbio is mentioned for the first time in a document dated 805 in which Charlemagne donated Capalbio to the Tre Fontane Abbey in Rome. The name Capalbio seems to derive from “caput album”.

Important archaeological remains testify to the presence of human settlements from the most remote antiquity. Capalbio was subject to the Aldobrandeschi and later to the Orsini, then from 1416 it was part of the Republic of Siena. In 1552 the territory of Capalbio was occupied for a short time by the Spanish troops of Charles V. After the fall of the Republic of Siena, it was assigned by Spain to Cosimo de Medici.


The town is enclosed by a double wall, which can be climbed along the patrol walkway, and is today a renowned tourist resort, a destination for well-known personalities, including numerous politicians. The symbolic building of Capalbio is the Rocca Aldobrandesca, formed by the Tower and the Renaissance Palazzo Collacchioni, a stately building leaning against the tower.

In addition to the Rocca Aldobrandesca the walls of the medieval village are worth a visit from which, through the walkway, you can admire a landscape of rare beauty. Under the castle in the Pieve di S. Nicola, you can admire frescoes of the Sienese school of the fourteenth century and of the Umbrian school of the fifteenth century. Outside the walls is the small Renaissance church of the oratory of Providence outside the walls, inside which there is a frescoed chapel, the frescoes are by a 15th century painter very similar to Pinturicchio.

In the territory of Capalbio there are also the ancient customs buildings of the Papal States and of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, among these the Palazzo del Chiarone and the Villa del Fontino. In the municipal area there are the ruins of the castle of Capalbiaccio located just north of Lake San Floriano. Along the coast are the watchtowers of Buranaccio and Macchiatonda, both belonging to the State of Presidi, while the tower of Selva Nera belonged to the Grand Duchy of Tuscany.

In Garavicchio, near Pescia Fiorentina, the southernmost village in the municipality of Capalbio, is the Tarot Garden, a work conceived and created by Niki de Saint Phalle, born Catherine Marie-Agnès de Saint Phalle, a French artist. In the garden there are 22 monumental sculptures inspired by the Tarot, built in reinforced concrete and covered with mirrors, glass and colored ceramics.



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