Montemigniaio is a small village on a hilltop in the attractive setting of the wood covered hills of the Casentino region of eastern Tuscany.
Montemignaio village is notable due to two monuments in the village: the Pieve di Santa Maria Assunta and the Castle of the Guidi Counts.
This church in Montemignaio combines elements of both the romanesque and gothic styles and is similar in style to the other traditional churches of the Casentino. It was probably built by the same workers. It was during restoration works that began in the first half of the 1950s that the ancient wooden roof and polychrome frescoes in the church were uncovered.
The interior of the church is very attractive due to the presence of pillars and columns, with round-headed arches separating the bays, and the remains of some frescoes still visible on some pillars (although these have deteriorated over the centuries).
Also inside the Church of Montemignaio there is a painting thought to be by the school of Ghirlandaio that depicts "The Madonna Enthroned with Child and Four Doctors of the Church". Also worthy of mention in the church is a terracotta by the school of Della Robbia, representing the "Madonna and Child Enthroned, Saint Anthony Abbot and Saint Sebastian."
Next in Montemignaio and at the highest point in the village you can visit the ancient castle of the Counts Guidi. The ancient walls have now been partly lost and the remaining remnants can only give a faint idea of the power of the ancient castle, which, from its lofty mountain height, once dominated all the fields and the road below.
The crumbling walls, the main tower and the cistern are the principal remains of the ancient feudal castle, as well as two towers. To the right of the main access gate there stands a mighty tower that served as a bell tower, with a second tower to the left. The two towers are joined by the imposing city walls which open to a round arch that leads into the castle.
Entering the gate, on the left you can see the majestic ruins of the palace, which was originally the residence of the Counts of Guidi and then later of the Florentine Podesta. The curtain walls of the castle still form the side of what was once the door leading into the courtyard of this so-called Palagio ("Guidi Palace"). The courtyard has a pit in the middle, and the donjon is visible behind the old chapel of the castle.
Today the Castle of Montemignaio is generally considered to be one of the best examples of medieval mountain fortresses in Tuscany
The beautiful setting and local products such as Casentino ham, goat's cheese, mushrooms and other fruits of the woods attract a large influx of tourists to this region during both winter and summer.
See the Tuscany guide for more travel ideas...