Monteriggioni is a charming hilltop town in Tuscany, Italy. It manages to capture the hearts of all its visitors, young and old.
We love visiting the medieval walled village of Monteriggioni and we often bring our friends and family who are visiting Italy.
Monteriggioni is in a spectacular location, surrounded by olive groves, vineyards, and farmland. Depending on how you arrive, you may catch a glimpse of the town’s 14 towers and well-maintained walls. In the summer, you may be lucky to spot the walled town nestled amongst the sunflower fields – a truly postcard-worthy image.
The castle town (or fortified village) was built in 1213 by Siena to protect the area from neighboring Florence. The area was constantly being battled over by the two cities. The village now lies in the province of Siena.
Monteriggioni is perfect for a quick visit or an overnight stay.
Read on for all the info you’ll need for a perfect visit to Monteriggioni, Italy!
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Table of Contents
Monteriggioni can be difficult to pronounce, especially if you don’t speak Italian.
It’s pronounced: mohn-teh-reej-JOH-nee.
Monteriggioni – Where Is It Located?
The village is in the province of Siena, and the region of Tuscany.
Distances from nearby cities/towns:
|Time (by car)
|see Michelangelo’s David, try bistecca alla Fiorentina
|people watch in the Piazza del Campo, learn about the Palio, visit playgrounds and sample local treats
|climb a medieval tower, get gelato from Gelateria Dondoli
|Castellina in Chianti
|taste Chianti wines, take in the views from the 14th-century tower
|Colle Val d’Elsa
|tiptoe through the Crystal Museum, explore the trail on the Sentierelsa River walk
Why Visit Monteriggioni?
While Italy is teeming with medieval villages and spectacular castles, Monteriggioni is so well-preserved that it’s worth traveling out of your way to see it.
There are only about 50 full-time residents, and even though the town has its share of tourist shops, you can still imagine what life was like here in the Middle Ages.
How Long Should I Spend In Monteriggioni?
Monteriggioni can be seen in 5 minutes (it’s that tiny!), but its charm and fun activities are worth at least a couple of hours. You’ll want to take it all in and imagine life here in the Middle Ages.
It makes an excellent day trip from a base in Florence, Siena, or anywhere in the Tuscan countryside.
You can also spend the night in town (or nearby), but I don’t think you’d need more than a night to explore Monteriggioni.
If you want to do all the activities mentioned below, plan on about two hours.
When to Visit Monteriggioni
Monteriggioni can be visited during all seasons. The walls, Monteriggioni in Arme museum, and cafes and restaurants are open year-round.
The weather in Monteriggioni varies from hot to very cold, as you can see from the chart below.
Most visitors come to Monteriggioni between May and September, with the peak arriving in July for the town’s Medieval Festival. If you don’t mind crowds, this is the time to visit.
If you’d like the town to yourself, travel to Monteriggioni in the winter months. You won’t be able to have a coffee or gelato outdoors, but you won’t need to worry about crowds. Note that many shops and restaurants close for the winter and make sure you dress warmly, as the wind can be chilly!
If you love history, try to time your visit for the town’s annual Medieval festival in July.
Most Italians visit on the weekends or during holidays. You’ll find less crowds on weekdays and during the middle of the day.
What To Do In Monteriggioni
Monteriggioni in Arme Museum
Check out the replicas of armor and weapons from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Kids and adults will enjoy walking through this small (it only has a few rooms) museum. While you used to be able to try on the armor and swing the large sword, you can’t at the moment because of the pandemic. Hopefully this experience will return, because it’s a lot of fun to try everything out!
In addition to the armor, there are some detailed miniature displays of battles, military history, and castle life.
The museum has placards explaining the exhibits in both English and Italian.
Regular (Intero) – 4€.
Kids 7 and under are free.
There are discount given for large groups, families, pilgrims from the Via Francigena.
Ticket includes walking on BOTH walls and entrance to the museum. Make sure you keep your ticket if you want to walk on the walls!
Walk Along the Walls
Once you’ve seen the knights in armor and the scenes of castle life and battles in the Monteriggioni in Arme museum, climb the walls. You’ll have the same view as the archers and knights who battled to protect the city.
There are two sections of walls you can climb. If you only want to climb one, choose the southern section (close to the main town entrance at Porta Franca). It’s larger and has the best countryside views of the two.
Open daily from 9:30-13:30 and 14:00-19:30; in the low season, closes at 18:00
Ticket price included in Monteriggioni in Arme museum entrance.
Relax in the Main Square
Take a seat on a bench in the main square (Piazza Roma) and imagine life here in the Middle Ages. Or, order a coffee or gelato at one of the cafes on the piazza.
Visit Both Porte
Check out the two porte, or doors to the city. While there are no longer doors in the entrances, you can imagine how large they would have been!
There are two porte – the Porta Franca (or Porta Romea), which looks toward Rome, and the Porta San Giovanni (or Florentine gate), which looks toward Florence.
You’ll enter town on the Roman side, but make sure you walk through town to the other porta, which offers amazing views of the countryside. Note – be careful walking on the stones leading to the Porta San Giovanni. They are placed awkwardly for walking and they’re very slippery when wet!
See if you can find the third porta – called the porta murata, or walled door. Only the upper section is still visible from the outside part of the town walls.
Take a Look at the 13th Century Church
The Pieve di Santa Maria Assunta is tiny, simple, and beautiful. You can go inside, but the outside, with its gorgeous old stone walls, is the most impressive part of the church. It was built in 1213, the same year Monteriggioni was built. The bell tower is the most ‘recent’ addition to the structure – it was added in the 1700s.
Wander Around the Side Streets
It may be tempting to walk the city walls, visit the armor museum, have a coffee in the piazza, and leave. However, you’ll miss out on more of Monteriggioni’s charm if you don’t take a few minutes to explore the town’s tiny side streets.
The locals decorate the narrow passageways with flowers, small shops peek out from corners, and you may even get a glimpse of everyday life in this small village.
Hike the Castle Loop
While it’s not actually in town, you’ll enjoy the views you get of Monteriggioni on this 4 kilometer loop. It takes about 1 hr 30 min and has 100 meters of elevation gain. You can start and finish in Monteriggioni.
Assassin’s Creed Fans
You’ll recognize Monteriggioni’s walls and towers.
The Monteriggioni in Arme museum has armor that you’ll recognize. It also has a small gift section dedicated to Assassin’s creed.
One glaring omission – you won’t see anything that looks like the Villa Auditore. To find the villa it’s based on, you’ll need to travel north to Fiesole (outside of Florence). In Fiesole you’ll find Villa di Maiano, the inspiration for the Villa Auditore.
Monteriggioni has local products on offer, including wine, honey, olive oil, jam, art, homewares, and jewelry. You’ll also find a leather shop and ceramics shop. The homemade cookies from Spezieria Toscana (via 1 Maggio, 15) make a nice souvenir (if you don’t eat them all before you get home!).
Try the local wine, Chianti Colli Senesi Monteriggioni. There are a few wine shops that offer tastings of it, including:
Fattoria Castello di Monteriggioni
Piazza Roma, 19
Cantinetta di Monteriggioni
Piazza Roma, 14
Events in Monteriggioni
Medieval Festival – Monteriggioni Medievale
Each July, Monteriggioni hosts a Medieval Festival. Thanks to the festival’s partnership with a local medieval archaeologist, it’s historically authentic.
The festival includes re-enactments of life in the Middle Ages, a medieval market, a huge banquet, parades, street artists and entertainers. The last day typically concludes with fireworks and more music and dancing.
Mountain Bike Race – Granfondo Castello di Monteriggioni
In October, the town hosts a well-known mountain bike race, the Granfondo Castello di Monteriggioni. Running since 1993, this attracts mountain bikers from around the country. There are usually two routes:
- Short (corto) – around 30 kilometers, with 700 meters of elevation gain
- Long (lungo) – around 55 kilometers, with 1400 meters of elevation gain
The race includes a section of the via Francigena, the pilgrimage trail that runs from Canterbury, UK to Rome, Italy.
While it would be fun to see the race, I would avoid visiting Monteriggioni on the day of the race as nearby roads will be blocked and / or clogged with cyclists.
If you’re interested in racing the Granfondo Castello di Monteriggioni, check out the official site.
Where to Eat in Monteriggioni
For such a small town, there’s an abundance of places to eat. There are a few restaurants in town, as well as a couple of cafes on the main square, Piazza Roma.
If we’re in Monteriggioni for lunch or dinner, we usually head to Ristorante Le Torri, on the piazza. They have a small garden area, kind staff, and the food is thoughtfully prepared with fresh ingredients.
Ristorante Le Torri
Piazza Roma, 21
Outside the town walls, Bar dell’Orso is a local haunt, and you’ll find it’s packed all day. The food is casual, quality, and filling. It’s just off the traffic circle at the exit/entrance of the Raccordo Autostradale Firenze-Siena.
Via Cassia Nord, 23
Where to Sleep in Monteriggioni
If you would like to sleep within the town walls, your best option is Hotel Monteriggioni. Located in a historic building, with a private garden and swimming pool. A perfect place to relax in town. Restaurants and cafes are a stone’s throw away.
Romantik Hotel Monteriggioni
via 1 Maggio, 4
Or, sleep in the countryside outside the city. Castel Pietraio is surrounded by vineyards and makes a lovely setting for sampling wine and relaxing at the swimming pool. It’s located only 6 kilometers (10-minute drive) from Monteriggioni.
Strada di Strove, 33
How To Get To Monteriggioni
Take the Raccordo Autostradale Firenze toward Siena. Exit Monteriggioni and follow signs to Monteriggioni. Distance: 60 km, Time: about 1 hr.
Catch the bus from the main Florence bus station (Autostazione Busitalia), next to the Florence Santa Maria Novella train station.
Some of the buses are direct, while others require a change in Poggibonsi or in the Siena suburb of Fontebecci. Time: from 1 hr 30 min to 2 hours.
You’ll be dropped off at a large traffic circle that’s about a 10 minute walk from Monteriggioni. Walk on the left side of the road and you’ll end up on a small gravel path. After you’ve walked about 300 meters from the traffic circle, you’ll see a brown sign for Via Francigena (with a walker icon) pointing left. Follow that road uphill for a shortcut to the northern gate of the town. It also keeps you off the narrow main road.
Read more about Exploring Tuscany Without a Car
There are a couple of routes to Monteriggioni that you can take from nearby Siena. The Raccordo Autostradale Firenze-Siena is the quickest. Distance: 20 km, Time: about 25 minutes.
Catch the bus from at the Siena-Via Tozzi stop. Make sure you time it to catch a direct bus. Time: from 35 to 40 minutes.
You’ll be dropped off at the large traffic circle, about 10 minutes walking to Monteriggioni. See the ‘By Bus’ from Florence section above for more information.
Parking in Monteriggioni
Don’t worry about finding a parking spot – the parking lot is almost as big as the town itself.
There are three parking areas. The first two are connected and you’ll see them on the right on your way toward the town.
At the entrance, there is a free small section. You must back your vehicle in. There are no spaces for RVs.
Next to the free section is the main large parking lot. Take a ticket at the barrier and park.
It’s about a 3-5 minute uphill walk (some stairs and some on the road) to get to the main entrance of the town at Porta Franca.
If you need to get even closer, there is another lot just outside of the walls. It’s about a 1-minute walk to Porta Franca. This lot is convenient if you have a stroller or someone who has trouble walking. It’s also next to the town’s public bathroom (yes, it’s outside the city walls).
When you are ready to leave, take your ticket and pay at the machine. You can pay with cash or credit card and you have 10 minutes to leave once you’ve paid.
Family Tips For Monteriggioni
Activities In Monteriggioni for Families
Both the Armor Museum and walking on the city walls are ‘don’t miss’ activities if you’re traveling with kids. They’ll love trying on the medieval armor (and will have fun imagining themselves as knights and defenders of the city as they explore the walls. Have them look for the narrow slits that soldiers shot arrows from or where the cannons were stored. Can they spot any writing from centuries ago or entrances that have been closed up?
Read A Book Before Arriving
Read about the city or time period before arriving. A favorite of ours is:
How to Live Like a Medieval Knight, by Anita Ganeri
Strollers in Monteriggioni
You won’t be able to take strollers on the walls (you need to climb up stairs to get to them and strollers aren’t allowed on the passageways).
There are cobblestones everywhere, so it will be a bit bumpy.
Don’t try to walk on the downhill to the north gate with a stroller – it’s too steep and slippery, even if it’s dry.
Breastfeeding In Monteriggioni
Feel free to breastfeed anywhere you feel comfortable. Italians are used to mothers feeding their babies everywhere.
A few options in Monteriggioni:
- Benches in Piazza Roma
- At a café or restaurant
- In the small park behind the piazza (benches and some shade underneath the olive trees).
- The bench at the viewpoint on the roof of the WC building next to the upper parking lot (yes, I know it sounds strange, but the views are fabulous and it’s a fairly quiet spot).
Bathrooms In Monteriggioni
The town’s public toilets are outside of the town walls, next to the upper parking lot. Exit the south gate (Porta Franca), turn left onto the paved road, and in about 100 meters you’ll see a white ‘WC’ sign ahead. Walk to that and follow the path to the right to arrive at the toilets. They are usable, but not particularly well-maintained.
The best place to change a diaper is in a bathroom at one of the restaurants.
Looking for more things to do in Tuscany with children?
Check out our post on 70 Things to do in Tuscany with Kids!
Monteriggioni Tourist Information
Phone: +39 0577 304834