Last Updated on December 1, 2023 by Laura Teso
You already know that I have a thing for burgs. I recently explored another one in the province of Siena called Chiusdino.
The story of Chiusdino begins with a small castle in the VII century, contested in the Middle Ages between some noble families of the area and the Republic of Siena. The latter won and Chiusdino become its property in 1230.
It is conveniently perched on a hill, as it should be to assume an air of romance and old times nostalgia.
In fact, after parking, the first thing I saw while climbing the steps to reach the historical centre was a lady putting out her washing.
After that it was a long line not only of panni (clothes), but of stone houses, lovely corners, perfumed plants on the windowsills, cats sleeping in the shadow, picturesque alleys. The medieval aspect and part of the ancient walls are still there for you to enjoy. No souvenirs shop. Just a couple of local shops. And two trattorie.
We stopped at La grotta di Tiburzi, the Tiburzi cave. The inner room is in fact a readapted cave. Very suggestive. We just had a cold cuts and cheese dish. One word. Awesome. I fell in love with the cheese, which to my surprise was not Tuscan, but from Sardinia. Never mind for the non-local origin because it was once of the most delicious cheese I have ever tasted in my life. Partly hard, partly tender, slightly spicy. Surprising.
Moreover the name Tiburzi hides a fascinating story. Tiburzi was in fact a bandit. He stole a bunch of grass in the field of a Marquis. Up to that time, according to the law, poor people could collect the ears dropped after the harvest, in order not to starve. But the law had just changed. And so the guardian of the Marquise requested a fine. The fine was hugely disproportioned. Tiburzi murdered the guardian and started his new life.
He became a sort of local Robin Hood mixed with a mafia boss. Yes, because, on the one hand he gave money to the poor but on the other hand he demanded a brigandage tax to the landowners and in return he granted them his protection. He considered himself the protector of justice, executing mean bandits who raped or killed innocent people.
In Chiusdino you can also find the birthplace of San Galgano, knight and hermit, better known for the namesake roofless Abbey located 15 minutes away by car. And for the Montesiepi Hermitage with its Sword in the Stone (next to the Abbey).
In the so called Propositura di San Michele the head of the Saint is preserved in a reliquary. Kind of creepy… and cool at the same time. The local museum displays works related to the Saint (the ticket includes the visit to the Abbey).
In the lower part of the burg, there’s a quaint bundle of alleyways worth to explore with calm… and with a camera at hand. I think Chiusdino deserves to be discovered and visited and it is without a doubt worth a detour.