Sarteano

This medieval town is rich in art and history. Piazza Barbagli opens onto a succession of unmissable places.

Tradition is a part of everyday life in Sarteano. It is present in the people who live here, in the craftspeople keeping ancient skills alive, and in the lovingly preserved ruins. It is present in the old town centre itself, with its stark yet welcoming contours, the buildings clustered around the hill, rising to the imposing castle at the top, that is visible from miles around.

And tradition is very much alive in the celebrated Giostra del Saracino jousting tournament, a ritual that has been practiced uninterrupted down through the centuries, continuing even after other forms of combat between knights have fallen by the wayside. These latter may have come to be more famous, but they were never as popular with the local people as the Giostra.

Sarteano traces its origins back to ancient times: the Etruscans made their homes here, and the nearby monumental necropolis of Pianacce is a continuing source of wonder, thrilling discoveries still being made to this day. Consider the Tomb of the Infernal Chariot (choosen also by Gucci), which enjoyed the well-deserved honour of appearing on the front pages of magazines and books throughout the world when it was unearthed a few years ago. The tomb, with its disquieting mural depicting the demon Charun, with his feral tusks and wild red hair, can be visited by appointment. However, a perfect reconstruction of the site, created using avant-garde techniques, is open to the public at the Civic Museum, where visitors can also see other, equally worthwhile finds. Sarteano is surrounded by the most beautiful natural landscapes that the Tuscan valleys have to offer.

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