Arcidosso: An Ancient City with Modern Appeal
Arcidosso is a municipality located in the Tuscan Province of Grosseto and at the foot of Monte Amiata. Strategically located about 100 kilometers south of Florence it is a place that has changed little from the time in the year 860 when it was founded as the Abbey of San Salvatore and thrived as such until in 1331 it fell to Guidoriccio da Fogliano after four months of siege by over 4,000 soldiers and some 400 horsemen. In 1556, Cosimo I de’ Medici established his outlying offices in Arcidosso under the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, after the fall of the Republic of Siena.
In 1786, following the Leopoldina Reformation the area thrived and grew by fourfold in just over 100 years becoming a most important political center of Monte Amiata.
The sites and areas of interest in Arcidosso include:
Arcidosso Historic Center
Three gates of the old medieval city remain that forms a long pyramid along the plateau where the Aldobrandeschi Castle sits. Two of the gates are original; the Porta di Castello and the Porta Talassese that face the sea. The castle gates were a stronghold during the period between the 12th and 14th centuries. On the north side of the city is the tower that rises above all the buildings in the compound. Today, this fortress is a center for cultural activities and from the top of the tower a beautiful panorama of Mount Amiata can be viewed. Look down towards Codaccio, and visitors can view the Porta dell’Orologio, that built in 1851 to replace the Porta di Mezzo.
The municipality of Arcidosso was built around the Aldobrandeschi Castle. Construction began around the year 1000. The tower, as explained above, is crowned by a series of blind arches that rest on shelves. Casa Innocenti is located near the castle and guests are encouraged to walk the areas around the castle and the historic center of the town.
The Churches of Arcidosso
There are several medieval churches that grace the town and where it was said that during the great plague pilgrims came to plead for the end of the death that was claiming the lives of so many. Most famously the Madonna dell’Incoronata and the church of San Leonardo was where the people prayed and paid homage to the patron saint of Arcidosso, San Niccolo. Each church contains beautiful frescos, icons and paintings that are depictions of the times and beliefs of the people over the ages.
Church of San Niccoló: the principal building of Arcidosso, it is the oldest in the town and was established by the Abbey of St. Salvatore and named after the patron saint of the town. Inside there is a precious wooden crucifix and a stoup.
Church of S. Andrea: a splendid Romanesque construction which is custodian of many splendid frescoes, including “La Vergine in Trono” (The Virgin on the Throne).
Church of S. Leonardo: built in the 12th century, it is home to many stunning frescoes with some architectural elements that were added in the 16th century.
Pieve di Santa Maria ad Lamulas (Parish Church of St. Maria ad Lamulas): a mediaeval structure, built in the countryside which surrounds Arcidosso. Legend states that the name of the church is derived from a mythical event, suggesting that one of the walls kneeled down to venerate the Madonna and that it left the imprint of its knee.
Chiesa dell’ Incoronata: built in the second half of the 14th century, this church commemorates the end of the plague and houses frescoes depicting “La Madonna con il Bambino” and “La Gloria della Santissima Trinità”.
Arcidosso is also famous for its lush forests and a vibrant shopping center. Everything you need can be found here, just like in any other city in Tuscany. These include banks, shops filled with fresh pasta, fruits, vegetables, baked goods, butcher shops, and even a car repair shop and a post office…. Of course this is also where you will find Carlo Innocenti’s Inn La Locanda del Prete which is a center for locals and visitors alike to gather. The accommodations at La Locanda del Prete are some of the best of the province.
Torre di David is a stone monument constructed in the later half of the 14th century, near Monte Labbro for David Lazzeretti, who was known as “Il Profeta” (The Prophet.
The David Lazzereti Study Centre contains manuscripts, texts and testimonies which illustrate and illuminate the life and the work of the “Prophet of Amiata”.
Centro Visite del Parco Faunistico e delle Riserve Naturali is a part that is also a central archive of rock ad mineral samples, maps, photos and reproductions that illustrates the areas geographic characteristics along with detailed displays of the fauna contained in the park.
In the spring, the first Sunday after Easter the Pina Festival of the Lamulas Parish Church takes place and during the month of November the Monte Amiata Olive Oil Festival takes place in Montelaterone, which is a dependency (suburb) of Arcidosso.