The hilltop charming village of Serre di Rapolano is often described as Siena in miniature. A short drive from its more famous neighbour, Serre di Rapolano makes a great destination for a day trip from Siena.
Stroll inside the medieval walls circling the village along narrow streets flanked by old red-bricked buildings and elegant palaces. Serre di Rapolano was built around the imposing castle that is still towering over the village reminding of the glorious old days. It has been converted to a luxurious hotel and restaurant.
|Serre di Rapolano|
Enter the village through Porta Serraia, one of the villages old gates, and head to the narrow Via del Cassero that will take you to Serre’s historic buildings. The beautiful church of Santi Lorenzo e Andrea, Il Teatrino, a small elegant theatre built by a local noble for family entertainments, the Palazzo Gori Martini with an impressive façade in travertine stones and two massive stone lions on each side of the entrance, the lovely Santa Caterina church, Palazzo Imperiale. The central square, La Piazza, is dominated by the 14th-century Town Hall (Palazzo del Comune) and a beautiful chapel, La cappella di Piazza decorated with stunning Gothic frescoes. Order a coffee at the Bar Centrale and admire the lovely piazza listening to the bells ringing out the time from the small clock tower (Orologio di Piazza).
You can learn a lot about the village’s history by looking at the streets’ names. Vicolo delle Setaie, named after the silk workers that once worked here will take you back in time with its charming shops untouched by the passing time. There is Via del Sale where a salt shop was located. On Vicolo del Forno Vecchio an old bakery was found a long time ago.
|A street in Serre di Rapolano|
One of the main sights in Serre is the old granary that used to belong to the powerful Ospedale di Santa Maria della Scala in Siena and today houses an interesting museum, Museo dell'antica Grancia e dell'olio, which tells the story of ancient fortified granaries and olive oil production.
Every May, the villages hosts a beautiful festival, Serra Maggio, with a medieval costumed parade, flag-throwing competitions, open-air market, music and great atmosphere.
Photos by: Morgan Haye/Flickr, Francesco Croci/Wikimedia Commons.