Last Updated on October 20, 2023 by Laura Teso
In Castelmuzio there is no shop, no bank, no post office. In winter only 40 people live here. As a matter of fact, when I visited it (it was mid July), I met no one. There was a 90 birthday party going on at the only restaurant/inn in the village, Locanda di Casalmustia. I got that from the 90-shaped baloon floating over the restaurant terrace. I thought the celebrated had surely invited all the inhabitants, Bilbo Baggins style. That’s why I met not even a soul while wandering alone along the cobblestone alleys, taking pictures and enjoying the tiny, beautiful village.
Castelmuzio back story
Castelmuzio is a charming medieval hilltop village in the province of Siena, Tuscany. Located in Valdichiana, it is a relatively undiscovered tourist destination. But I think it is well worth a visit for its medieval atmosphere, the centuries-old buildings, and also the panoramic views of the Tuscan countryside. It surely captures the essence of rural Italy.
The origins of Castelmuzio date back to the Etruscan-Roman era. Near the village, the remains of a temple dedicated to the goddess Isis, sacred to the Etruscans, were found.
The first document ever to mention Castelmuzio is one from 1213, in which it is described as the fortification of Castel-Mozzo, property of the Scialenga of Asciano, former lords of Montisi.
What to see in Castelmuzio
Stone of San Bernardino
At the entrance to the town there is a monument to the fallen, while next to the ancient door is the stone of San Bernardino da Siena. According to legend, the Saint, during his pilgrimages, was driven away from other towns along the way. But the inhabitants of Castelmuzio welcomed him with open arms instead. The town became one of his favorite destinations.
The Church of Santa Maria Assunta
The building is externally devoid of decorative elements. On the facade you may notice the glass window depicting the Assumption of Mary.
Museum of Sacred Art
Housed in the Oratory of the brotherhood of the Holy Trinity and San Bernardino. Among its treasures, a painting depicting San Bernardino, a Madonna with Child by Duccio da Buoninsegna. Also, it hosts a small Etruscan urn, dating back to the III century.
I know it’s weird to insert such a landmark but this is different from the usual Italian public toilets. It features precious details, such as a mirror with a golden frame and an antique cabinet.
At the edge of the village you’ll reach the belvedere, a terrace furnished with benches, wrought iron tables and armchairs, where to sit in front of a living picture. I mean, a panorama over the rolling hills, embracing Montepulciano and Pienza. Here there’s a sign, saying that this Belvedere is:
A place to meet up, to talk, to stay silent, to think, to lose one’s gaze in the green sea of the hills.
Against degradation and mediocrity
A group of women united to create something unique in Castelmuzio: the association called Castelmuzio Borgo Salotto (meaning salon village). They managed to gather citizens and entrepreneurs, together with the Municipality, to challenge vandalism, degradation and resignation to mediocrity that so much affects our modern society. It was them who created the lovely belvedere and the fancy public toilet. They also organize a series of events from June to October. Below you can find some of these events. For the others, check https://www.facebook.com/castelmuzioborgosalotto/?locale=it_IT
Festivals and events
In June: Borghi in Festa, a village festival with music, shows and food stands serving excellent local home-made food.
In July you can attend Appicicchia, a competition of pici making (here nicknamed lunghetti, meaning rather long). Pici are a Tuscan kind of fresh pasta, usually seasoned with aglione sauce. Which is a tomato sauce with abundant local big garlic.
In October, the key event: Festa dell’Olio Novo, the new oil festival, with tastings and themed conferences.
What Makes Castelmuzio Special
What sets Castelmuzio apart from other Tuscan villages is its unspoiled charm and peaceful ambiance. Unlike the more touristy towns in the region, Castelmuzio offers an authentic experience where you can savor the beauty of the Tuscan countryside without the crowds.
The village’s small size and remote location make it a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of larger cities, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the slow-paced, idyllic lifestyle of rural Tuscany.
In conclusion, Castelmuzio is a hidden gem in Tuscany that deserves a spot on your travel itinerary. Whether you’re drawn by its rich history, stunning landscapes, delectable cuisine, or the opportunity to unwind in a serene setting, Castelmuzio has something special to offer every traveler.