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•• SAN QUIRICO D'ORCIA •••

San Qurico, is of origins, undoubtedly, Etruscan. This is testified by findings of cinerary urns and other funeral objects abd vessels, now kept in the Etruscan archeological museum in Siena. The first explicit reference to San Quirico was at the time of a dispute, in 712, between the diocese of Siena and Arezzo for the possesion of some parishes, among which was San Quirico in Osenna: the outcome being a decision, confirmed by King Liutprando, in favour of the church of Arezzo. The name "Osenna", preserved until the 17th century and probably referred to a water-course which has now disappeared, is an Etruscan place-name and, perhaps even "Orcia" (water, stream or brook) is pre-Roman. From the beginning of the 11th century you find the name of San Quirico in Osenna being mentioned more frequently, especially in connection to the passing - along the important Via Francigena (or Romea, the pilgrims' way to Rome) - of important Europeans in the political and ecclesiastical world. In 1154, Federico I (Barbarossa) came to Italy to receive the Imperial Crown. While heading towards Rome his army encamped at San Quirico, where Pope Adrian IV sent three cardinals to meet the Emperor. In 1180 the Sieneses estended their jurisdiction over San Quirico and soon after that the town became the seat af the Imperial Vicar. At San Quirico, in 1205, they held the congress of the "Lega di Toscana" (League of Tuscany). With the fall of the Republic of Siena it passed into the hands of the marchese of Marignano and, some time after, it was under the rule of Cosimo de' Medici. Being the cause of a feud for the title of marquisate by Grand Duke Cosimo III, it was conceded, in 1677, to Cardinal Flavio Chigi, nephew of Pope Adrian VII.

   
   
   
La cinta muraria

At the present, there is a large part of the town-walls still santing and 14 small towers are still visible, although some of them are incorporated into other buildings. Unfortunately, nothing remains of the North and South gates, although the partially original Eastern gate is preserved. This way probably once preceded by an outer gate, of which little more remains but the base.
   
   

La Collegiata
Via Dante Alighieri - Tel. (0577)897506.
Open daily


The present church is built upon the old parish church, which we know dated from the 8th century. There are three doorways. The first, coming from Siena, is a magnificent example of Romanesque, built of sandstone and travertine. On the inside of the great round arch an extraordinary wealth of symbolic religious themes can be seen; The first "portale di mezzogiorno" (south door), obviously still in the Romanesque style, even though there is a hint of the Gothic, is attributed to Giovanni Pisano. With its protruding porch supported on two columns, and with its wonderful balance, it epitomizes the Gassical, Ro- rnanesque and Gothic styles. The bell-tower, as it appears today was built at the end of the 18th century and rephlaced the old arched bell-tower. Inside the church there is a triangular beamed ceiling. The baroque choir was built in 1655 replacing the original apse, and the high altar is in the rococo styte. Behind the altar the magnificent inhid panels, by the Sienese Antonio Barili, date from between 1482 and 1502. The wonderful marquetry 19 panels in all, of which only seven are at San Quirico - were acquired by Marchese Chigi, in 1749, and set into the choir. The organ, dating from the 17th century, revealed after restoration to have a splendid timbre, which is emphasized by the perfect acoustics of the church. In a wing of the transept can be found the wonderful polyptych of "Sano di Pietro" (Sienese School - 15th Century). The piece was painted espressly for the parish of San Quirico, as can be seen by the red and gold coat-of-arms of the town and the presen-, ce of the patron saint.








   
   

Palazzo Chigi
Via Dante Alighieri. In restoration

Next to the Collegiata and opposite the "palazzo pretorio" (magisterial palace) - adjoining which, two mediaevale features can be seen; the "porte del morto" (doors of the dead) - rises the huge mass of the Palazzo Chigi. It was built in the second half of the 17th century by Cardinal Flavio Chigi, and is now the property of the town-council. Unfortunately, due to negligence and harm suffered during the Second VVorId War, the palace remains seriously damaged on its external structure and in its richly frescoed rooms.

 
   
   
Chiesa di San Francesco
Open daily

The church of St Francis, which faces the main square, has undergone numerous changes over the centuries. On the high altar there is a very beautiful Madonna attributed to Andrea della Robbia, which perhaps, originally, was part of an Annunciation. On the corbels in the resbytery, there are two wooden polychrome statues of the Angel and the Virgin Mary attributed to Francesco di Valdambrino, a pupil of Jacopo della Quercia.
 
   
   
Horti Leonini
Piazza LibertÓ - Tel. (0577)897506.
Open daily


Realized by Diomede Leoni, in 1580, the Horti Leonini are a superb example of the Italian garden. The enormous garden opens into a vvide perspective flight, the effect of which is helped by the perfectly geometrical beds of box. Coming from the bottom of the garden, an English wood goes up through to the Iarge square at the top, which was once dominated by the old "torre del cassero", distroyed during the Second World War. In the centre of the lower square you can see the statue of Cosimo III de' Medici, sculptured in 1688 and commissioned by Flavio Chigi in gratitude to the Grand Duke, who had nominated him Marquis of San Quirico.
   
   
Chiesa di Santa Maria Assunta
Open daily

This church was mentioned in a Papal Bull of Pope Benedetto Vlll in 1017. The purity of line and its extremely formal severity make S. Maria a magnificent example of a small romanesque church of only one aisle.
   
   
Ospedale della Scala

The hospital, built in the 12th century, offered shelter to pilgrims and travelers who went along the Via Francigena. In the court-yard there is a l6th century well, and a small loggia, partly blocked in, with three elegant small columns.
 
   


 




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