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Farnetella Sinalunga



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Farnetella is a small fraction of the municipality of Sinalunga, located on one of the hills on the western side of the Val di Chiana of Siena, a few kilometers from the municipal capital and from Scrofiano. together with Rigomagno it had the function of guarding the Foenna valley which from below Poggio Santa Cecilia conveys the water into the Valdichiana, resulting in a way of penetration towards the Crete and Siena.

Farnetella has the structure of a medieval village with the castle and with 4 parallel villages, connected with transverse alleys and with the walls, of which traces remain not easily legible. Towards the south-east part of the country, however, part of a semicircular defense tower is visible.

There aren’t any real records of ancient origins of Farnetella. Its actual origin dates back to the Middle Ages, exactly during a period that goes from the V and the VI century. At the beginning of the Middle Ages it was the residence of a branch of the Cacciaconti family, that is the Counts of Scialenga, that inhabited it soon after having moved to the castle of Rigomagno. From the beginning, the Castle of Farnetella was situated on a very high hill, above the present village, that , as a matter of fact, is still called Castelvecchio (old castle).

It was surrounded by very high and powerful walls and it was impregnable. Inside stood the Castle, described around the year one thousand as powerful and inaccessible. It was part of the small domain of the nobles Barotti , that also included San Gimignanello, Montalceto (now Torre S.Alberto ) and Castiglioni (also called Castiglion Barotti) near Rapolano Terme. Inside there was also a large seigniory, a court, some houses, a small church and a chapel. During the beginning of 1100, after a war, Montalceto, San Gimignanello and Farnetella, were taken over by the Counts Scialenga (the Cacciaconti). The first document referring to Farnetella, dates back to 1175. With such document Siena ordered the Counts Scialenga to return the castle of Farnetella to the ancient owners, the Counts Barotti. The Counts Barotti took again possession of the castle, but they had to face Emperor Frederick II, that had formally granted Montalceto to Ildibrandino of Guido Cacciaconti of the Counts Scialenga, whose family soon afterwards , took also control of Farnetella. In 1271, Farnetella was accused of high treason towards the Republic of Siena, for having given shelter to the Ghibellines , that had left town. It’s difficult to say whether it was the inhabitants that offered shelter or whether it was the Ghibellines that invited themselves. A law was applied to Farnetella according to the decree of 1262, that stated that whereas the castles of the county or district of Siena, were found guilty of treason against the Republic, they had to be destroyed and never built again. Thanks to this decree, the Castle of Farnetella was razed to the ground by the Sienese troops of the Third of Camollia, by ordinance of the Vicar Monforte. On January 1295, the inhabitants of Farnetella, send a petition to Siena, where they declared their innocence. After only a month, on February 1295, the Council of the Campana, resolved in favor of the petitioners , allowing all the innocent ones to live again in the court of Farnetella. The inhabitants quickly rebuilt the village in a different place than the earlier one, adopting a characteristic arrangement consisting of three roads slightly inclined, still preserved nowadays, probably inspiring themselves to the ancient structure of Rigomagno. In 1324, after Farnetella had been already rebuilt, Master Deo Guccio Tolomei, a rebel of the township of Siena, plundered, devastated and set on fire the village with his troops. With patience, the inhabitants rebuilt their village with a wider set of walls. In 1554, Farnetella bore courageously another attack, this time, from a detachment of the army of Charles V. The castle owes its present appearance to its owner Adolfo Ferrari. As a matter of fact, during the end of 1800, he started the construction of a large residential building, castle like, with all modern comfort , with a nobly ancient touch, to host rich tourists. But the project, maybe too ambitious for that time, drained Ferrari’s financial resources and remained incomplete. Anyway, the great structure of the castle and the small villa close to it characterize the entire aspect of the village. The Castle of Farnetella has several frescoes, great furniture and a fantastic dining room in wood, executed by the Sienese Giovanni Sammicheli. From 1906 the Sienese artist worked for Ferrari for a few years . Many of the decorations in the castle are his. He also realized the Gesù Morto (the Dead Jesus ), a very beautiful wooden sculpture, preserved in the Church of the Company of the Holy Cross. Farnetella was for a long time an independent township; but it was annexed to Sinalunga at the end of the XVIII century.




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