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Serre di Rapolano

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Serre di Rapolano

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The village of Serre di Rapolano is situated on a hill sheltered by an opening between the valley of Sentino and Ombrone. Since the ancient times it was extracted here one of the most fine travertine: today the quarries are partly disused. The village of Serre is famous for the presence of the ancient grancia, which belonged to the Hospital of Santa Maria della Scala. Nowadays the grancia is partly visitable and it is full of charm because of its architectonic and historical value. Serre rose around a byzantine fortress probably built during the Greek-Gothic war (535-553). The castle, together with other works of military engineering controlled the access to the village. Afterwards, it became a Long bard settlement and then the residence of imperial lords of the castle. Federico Barbarossa reinforced its defence and Federico II gave it as a pheud to the family Cacciaconti., who took the possession since 1234. In 1291 the possession was divided: Fazio and Cacciaconte remained the owners of Serre but the commune of Siena already asked for its possessions. After the battle of Benevento( 1266), with the falling of the Swabia power and the following defeat of the Ghibelline party, the Cacciaconti succeeded in keeping Serre until 1269 but after that they have a defensive attitude but in 1271-1272 they were driven out of the castle, which passed under the dominion of Siena. In 1276 the bishop of Cremona, Cacciaconte Cacciaconti, recovered the possession of the castle for his nephews, which after some years came back to the commune of Siena but the imperial palace was managed by the Hospital of Santa Maria della Scala, maybe after an agreement between the commune of Siena and the Cacciaconti. The Hospital had some properties both on the inside and on the outside of the circle of walls. The hospital obtained the remaining properties of cacciaconti in 1295, when Ghino di Tacco tried to conquest the castle. Giovanni de’Cacciaconti, the last heir of the family, sold the cassero of Serraia and other possessions to the sienese merchant Giovanni de’Rossi in 1373. De Rossi wanted to live here with his wife Ciambragina and built here a laboratory. The merchant’s family was then involved in a conspiracy against Siena and driven out of the city in the first years of the XV century. In the meantime the commune had passed under the sienese sovereignty. At the beginning of the XIV century the commune was divided into 3 “terzieri”: the “Terziero del Santo”, with the church of Saint Michele Archangel; the “Terziere di Mezzo” and the “Terziero del Poggio”, which comprehends the area of the grancia with the donjon of the Poggio. In the middle of the XVI century the village was damaged by the war between Siena and Florence: the count of Santa Fiora which was an allied of the Florentines, destroyed the Tower of the Poggio, the imposing donjon of the circle of walls. The village remained an independent community until 1776.


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