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Grancia di Cuna Monteroni d'Arbia


Grancia di Cuna

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Grancia di Cuna

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The imposing structure, which is well-identifiable thanks to the characteristic colour of red bricks with which it has been completely built, of the Grancia of Cuna is the best kept proof of a Medieval fortified farm, and one of the most particular and interesting architectural complex of the sienese country and the whole Tuscany. In that place, already in the XII century, there was a hospital which gave hospitality and assistance to pilgrims and merchants who travelled along the Via Francigena, which, in the nearness, climbed over the Arbia. From a document of the Pope Eugenio III, we know that this building belonged to the Abbey of Torri. The whole countryside became a property of Siena already during the XIII century but the farmhouse on the hillocks of Cuna and Castelluccio, was given to the Hospital of Santa Maria della Scala, one of the most powerful institutions of that time. The rector of the Hospital, Ristoro Menghi di Giusto, decided immediately to enlarge the existent structure. Since then, the grancia developed in a small independent village surrounded by walls, with doors and towers, houses and, in the middle, the farm-fortress. His successor, probably Giovanni de’ Tolomei, began the construction of the granary and the restructuration of the church, dedicated to the Saints Giacomo and Cristoforo in 1314. In the XIV century, owing to the high political and military instability, the Hospital, with the aim to safeguard the reserves of cereals and wheat, was forced to fortify the granary. The fortified granaries of the country were called “Grancia”. The complex of Cuna consists of a big square block with a scarp wall, two corner-towers provided with defensive equipment, leaning southwards. The main entrance leads to a courtyard shaped like a “L”, from which you enter the internal rooms and stores thanks to a flight of stair(which allows to go up with pack animals to the highest floors) which is covered, in the first part, by beautiful cross vaults. This was the real farm-fortress, surrounded by the first ring of walls of the XIV century with many of the round communication trench still visible, loopholes and gallery. A second ring surrounds the farm and the village, which has risen around it. Of this circle of walls, it is still untouched the main door. Cuna was sacked only in 1554, during the last battle of Siena, by the Austro-Hispanic troops. During the second half of the XVI century, a roof was added to the farm and to the towers which has covered the pre-existent battlement. The owner’s house, among the circle of walls, dates back to the XVII century. Cuna gave hospitality to kings and popes: in 1386 to Urbano VI, in 1420 to Martino V, in 1451 to Paolo III. In 1640 died here Carlo di Guisa of the Lorena’s family. MARK: the “Grancia” was a fortified farm which developed in the place where , in the Middle Age, there was probably a hospice or hospital for the reception of travellers. Situated in the country, in the middle of a big landed properties of the Hospital, it was the centre of the wheat’s collection and of all the agricultural production, which was necessary to the maintenance of the hospital’s activity. Its fortification, which had to protect it from the incursions, is an interesting architectonic typology and a safe reference point for those who would need to go to it. [By “The places of the Science in Tuscany”].




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