Staggia Senese is a small village with beautiful walls and an interesting medieval castle. This historic village is located in the municipality of Poggibonsi, from which it’s distant 4 kilometers. The town can be reached from Florence or Siena by exiting the Florence-Siena highway at the Colle Val D’Elsa Sud exit and continuing left (to the right if you come from Siena) for about three kilometers.
During the XII century Staggia was a fief of the Soarzi family. Its position between Florence and Siena was of strategic importance. Starting from the thirteenth century, the small village that had sprung up around the feudal castle developed thanks to its proximity to the Via Francigena.
At the end of the thirteenth century, a new feudal family, the Franzesi, took possession of the castle, they transformed it into a fortified residence. In 1361 the commercial activities of the Franzesi family failed and the castle was purchased by the Republic of Florence. Thus it became an important outpost of the Florentine Republic against the bitter enemy Siena. In 1372 and 1431 various works were done to improve the fortifications of the castle and the town.
In Staggia is also interesting a visit to the church of Santa Maria Assunta, it was known since 994, although few remnants of the Romanesque church were left by the early 20th century rebuilding. The parish church owns a remarkable art collection, which masterpiece is the painting by Antonio del Pollaiolo, from the 1460s, representing the “Angels Informing Mary of Magdala”.
Remarkable are also the 15th century “Adoration of the Wise Men”, by Francesco Botticini, a mid 14th century “Madonna with Holy Child” of Siennese school, a precious Gothic gilt-copper monstrance from the second half of the 14th century, a 1574 “Visitation” painted by Francesco Maria Butteri, and a “Christ’s Pietà” painted in 1579 by Arcangelo Salimbeni.
Today the castle and the walls of Staggia are still imposing, of the originls three gates are still visible the North-east Gate and the Florentine Gate, while the Senese Gate has disappeared. Its walls still have to regular intervals various polygonal towers. The castle, that has an irregular plant, has two cylindrical towers and a high square tower, it’s in phase of restoration and will become a luxury hotel.
Weekly market in Staggia Senese: Saturday
Via del Pollaio (Hours 8.00-13.00)
- AA. VV. “Toscana” Guide Rosse Touring Club Italiano, 2007