The name “Torrita” appears for the first time on a code dated 1037, concerning a lawsuit about the property of Saint Apollinare church -located in casal Feroniano (Frignano), in Montefollonico- , promoted by Saint Salvatore Abbey (in Mount Amiata), and debated in the ancient ‘pieve’ of Saint Costanzo in Torrita, today Madonna dell’Olivo church.
By a 1270 decree, Torrita and its county became a feud under the emperor Otto IV and was given to the Cacciaconti family, from which the lineage of Monaceschi-Pecorai descends, and the most famous member Ghino di Tacco – the gentleman outlaw.
The castle of Torrita for many centuries represented a bastion for the Republic of Siena during the wars against Florence, Perugia and Montepulciano for the control of Val di Chiana. In 1260 an armed contingent allocated at the Torrita fortress took part beside Siena in the victorious Montaperti battle against the Guelph florentine troops.
The castle was the scene for many fighting between knights and armies throughout the Middle Ages, anyway it stayed true to the Republic of Siena until it was annexed to the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, ruled by the Medici family.
Between the 18th and 19th centuries the economic structure evolved, since industrial and artisan activities appeared, alongside the more traditional ones such as agriculture and agricultural products processing.
In the 19th century there were a number of silk, glass, felt hats, brickwork and dying factories.
A proof of the economic relevance of this area was the presence of the Central railway- Tuscany, active until the Unification of Italy in 1860, which connected Florence to the terminal Torrita, passing by Siena.
The industrial development continued in the 20h century, when the distillery was realised, and later, during the Sixties economic miracle, with a growing production of furniture.
During the last decades the urban fabric expanded toward the valley area surrounding the train station, where most of the population lives – 7500 inhabitants including the municipality hamlets -, and the industrial activities are.
Today Torrita looks like the urban evolution of the fortified castle, surrounded for long stretches by the ancient walls, where the main access entries to the town still are: Porta Gavina, Porta a Pago, Porta a Sole. The fourth door, Porta Nuova (nuova=new), was opened on the west side of the walls.
Piazza Matteotti is the heart of the town: there stands the ancient cistern, which once provided the inhabitants with water. The main square, placed at the crossroad between the four door paths, is still the civil and religious core of the town.
The 13th century Town Hall, home of the old city government,overlooks the square with its double-battlements- standing tower . Beside that, the theatre, Teatro Comunale degli Oscuri, willed by the homonymous academy in the 18th century: inside, a bust of the famous opera singer Giulio Neri, born in Torrita in 1909.
THe church of Saints Flora and Lucilla enhance the view of Piazza Matteotti: the oldest ot the hamlet, raised in 13th century, which preserves Sienese school precious pieces of art from 1300.
TORRITA DI SIENA LIVING
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