Poggibonsi In the Middle Ages

Medieval Histories

Medieval Poggibonsi in Tuscany is a fortified hilltop village, which has been extensively excavated by archaeologists from Siena. Now an open-air museum, it is an initiative dedicated to authenticity and faithful recreation.

The Park at Poggibonsi is an archaeological and monumental area covering 12 ha. It holds the ruins of a settlement or hilltop village, which lay in the saddle of a hill, walled in by massive Renaissance bulwarks, remains of a castle, begun by Lorenzo il Magnifico. In the early nineties, the archaeologists, Riccard Francovich and Marco Valenti, from the University of Siena began to excavate the hilltop village at old Poggibonsi. Continued excavations succeeded in mapping a story, which reached back to the 6th century. At this time a group of people gathered together to settle at the hilltop. Whether the people were fleeing from flooding and erosion in the valley or violent attacks from marauders, or a combination of all, is not known. There is no doubt, though, that they were not the only people at this point, who took to the top of the hills in Northern and Central Italy.

This 6th-century village continued until the 9th century when the settlement shifted its character. At this point, the village became focused upon a central building, an oblong seigniorial hall in the classic Northern European form. Later, in the high middle ages, the site was once again re-planned. Now, a major church was built together with gridded streets and elegant townhouses.

Following the end of the first excavations, the area was turned into a public park. Later, a small meeting centre, as well as a trattoria and a bar, has succeeded in turning the site into a popular spot for an afternoon excursion for people living in modern Poggibonsi.