Surprise at the Top

January 21, 2014 / Places
Castilgion Fiorentino, Tuscany

It’s a haul to get to the top, but curiosity will get the best of you. Somewhat difficult to visit this town without wondering what’s up there, what the view might be like. Besides, its main feature, which you see whenever you’re within ten miles of it, is up there. So it’s a no brainer, a must do.

Fact is, after wandering through the town with its beautiful medieval streets and alleys and buildings piled on top of one another willy-nilly yet all so aesthetically pleasing, you’re expecting much of the same up top.


Not so fast… the difference between the charming and chaotic medieval town that tumbles down all four sides of its hill and… well, its Castiglion, is stark!

All you see up here are wide open green spaces, the upper part of the (smaller/inner) Etruscan town’s original walls, and the green Tuscan countryside beyond. While you know that the town exists, having just walked up/through it, you’re compelled to walk to the edge of the large piazzale to look down and make sure its still there.


Truth is, its not just an open green space. There’s the old town hall (now a museum and library), the side of the church of Sant’Angelo, and the Cassero itself, the keep, from which Castiglion Fiorentino gets its name.


Who knows what this space was like 3,000 years ago? Certainly back then it was minus the church, and plus the Etruscan temple whose foundations together with some decorative elements were recently discovered.


Maybe the archaeologists will be able to answer such questions someday. In the meantime, it’s all fun to contemplate while you take in yet another not-so-shabby Tuscan view.




by GB Bernardini

Editor, Italian Notebook

7 Responses to “Surprise at the Top”

  1. Connie Compiano (Campopiano)-Luker

    enjoy reading this paper but is there any articles of history on Motto Santa Lucia, Calabria (so.) Fatino family (mothers side). Or Lucito, Molise region father’s side. Would love to have history for grandchildren. Anything would be appreciated

  2. I was just wondering the other day how GB was doing… hadn’t heard or seen you posting for a while. Not that we haven’t enjoyed the other people because they have provided a feast for the senses but we do love to hear from the chief cook and bottle washer once in awhile. Just so we know you’re not sleeping on the job.
    Great post, intriguing images and yes your post always have me doing Google searches afterward to dig a little deeper into people,places and things we love and call Italian…

  3. Dan Johnson

    Don’t you love the ancient architecture? Given the notches in the building facades in many of the Tuscan towns I visited, I’ve always wondered what structures filled the empty notches in the building sides. One can only speculate what the town looked like in its prime.

  4. Giuseppe Spano
    Giuseppe Spano

    Incredible, beautiful to see a time long past yet the question begs ,,Why, why were they so fixated with the long climb? Our legs today could not withstand…

  5. Thank you for writing about our beloved town. We are saving an abandoned baroque chapel in the historic center — very near where your photos were taken.


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