Arcidosso is a town of just over four thousand inhabitants in the province of Grosseto. The municipality is located in a hilly and wooded area called Monte Amiato. The San Niccolò Church is the town’s oldest church.
Arcidosso travel guide
Tourist information: There is a Pro Loco in the Piazza Indipendenza, 30.
The address of the town hall is Piazza Indipendenza, 30 (Telephone: +39 0564 966438).
Railway station: Arcidosso is not on any train line.
The city’s historic center is characterised by its many medieval churches. The most important ones are the Madonna delle Grazie Church, the Sant’Andrea Church, the San Niccolò Church, the San Clemente Church and the San Leonardo Church. Outside the center, the old Capuchin Monastery and the 13th-century country church Santa Maria ad Lamulas are worth seeing.
Arcidosso also has a number of beautiful palaces, including the Palazzo Comunale, the Palazzo del Marchese la Greca, the Palazzo Pastorelli, the Palazzo Ferrini Amati and the Palazzo Giovannini Banchini.
The Rocca Aldobrandesca is a well-preserved castle. Much of the old city walls has also been preserved.
Madonna delle Grazie Church
The Santuario della Madonna delle Grazie is usually called Madonna dell’Incoronata by locals. This church was built as a result of a vow made after the end of the plague epidemic of 1348 and later enlarged continuously.
San Niccolò Church
Built in the 12th century, the San Niccolò Church is the oldest church in Arcidosso. Its Romanesque architecture was consolidated during renovations in the 1930s. The church consists of three naves and has a basilical floor plan.
The Sant’Andrea Church also dates back to the 12th century and has been enlarged over the centuries. The building is slightly above street level and has a very austere interior. Artistic highlight is a 16th-century fresco by artists from the Sienese school.
Santa Maria a Lamula Church
The Pieve di Santa Maria a Lamula stands in the borough of Montelaterone. This church also existed in the 12th century and played an important role in the area at the time. This lasted, despite damage done in battles against Siena, until the 16th century. A restoration between the two World Wars restored the church to its old Romanesque state. The addition “Lamula” comes from a legend. A mule with a statue of the Madonna is said to have knelt on the spot where the church now stands to indicate that it should be built here. The knee prints, it is said, are still visible.
Today, the garden of Palazzo Pastorelli is a public park called Parco del Pero.
City gates and city wall
The two city gates in Arcidosso’s ancient walls are still standing. These are the Porta di Castello and the Porta di Mezzo, with the Torre dell’Orologio.
The most striking building, however, is the Rocca Aldobrandesca, a castle built around the year 860 by the Aldobrandeschi family. It was built using a pre-existing Lombard construction. The Torre Maestra is crowned by battlements supported by blind arches.
Arcidosso was built on a spur of Monte Amiata, in a remote area of great natural beauty. The area is characterized by forests of chestnut and beech trees.
The most famous nature reserve is the Parco Faunistico del Monte Amiata. Here it is possible to see wild animals such as deer, roe deer, mouflon, chamois and wolves in the wild.
Other nature reserves include the Poggio all’Olmo Reserve and the Monte Labbro Reserve.
The Gompa di Merigar West is a Tibetan temple founded by Chögyal Namkhai Norbu in the 1980s. He took possession of a territory of about 50 acres and started a gar, where Dzogchen philosophy was taught. A large temple, called a gompa, was added in 1990. At the blessing of this octagonal building, even the Dalai Lama was present.
The historic center of Arcidosso is divided into three districts. These are successively called Terziere di Castello, Terziere di Codaccio and Terziere di Sant’Andrea.
A brief history of Arcidosso
Arcidosso was founded around the 9th century. Originally belonging to the San Salvatore Abbey, it came into the hands of the Aldobrandini family in the 12th century. Later, the town was conquered by Siena, which continued to rule it for centuries.
The first time Arcidosso is mentioned in an official document is in the year 860. At that time, it served as a defensive fortress for the monks of the nearby San Salvatore Abbey.
Between the 12th and 13th centuries, the town is owned by the Santa Fiore branch of the Aldobrandini family. They had the castle built there, which still exists today.
In 1331, the town was conquered by the Republic of Siena. In the following centuries it remained attached to the republic.
How to get to Arcidosso by car
From Grosseto, first follow the SS223/E37 in the direction of Siena. From Paganico, follow the SS64 to your destination. The distance is about 56km. From Rome you can either drive along the coast to Grosseto and then follow the previous directions or first take the A1 north and then the Orte exit and continue until Viterbo. From here, follow the SR2 to Torrente Formone, where you take the SP113, followed by the SP18D, the SP65, the SP129, the SP107, the SP111 and finally, from Casidore, the SS323.